Video: Flash Flood Hits During Bengal Idol Immersion, 8 Dead, Many Missing

Bengal's Backward Classes Welfare minister Bulu Chik Baraik, who is the MLA from Mal Assembly constituency, feared that the death count may increase.

Several people are missing after the flash flood during Durga idol immersion

Kolkata:

At least eight people have drowned and several others are missing after a flash flood hit Mal river in West Bengal during the immersion of Goddess Durga's idols last night, a senior official has said.

Four women are among those killed in the tragic incident in Jalpaiguri district. Thirteen people injured in the incident have been hospitalised.

District Magistrate Moumita Godara told news agency PTI that hundreds had gathered on the banks of the river for the immersion last evening.

"All of a sudden, a flash flood struck and people were swept away. So far, eight bodies have been recovered and we have rescued around 50 people," she said.

"Search and rescue operations are being carried out by teams of the NDRF, SDRF, police and the local administration. Search operations have started downstream," she said.

Visuals of the incident showed people struggling against the river current as they tried to move to the banks. Many of them are seen being swept away, as some clung to others to save themselves.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the dead and an assistance of Rs 50,000 for those injured. 

"A tragic flash flood hit the Mal River in Jalpaiguri as Durga Visarjan was underway. 8 people lost their lives, I pray that their families find strength & solace in these difficult times." She said the rescue operations are still on and about 70 people have been saved.

Bengal's Backward Classes Welfare minister Bulu Chik Baraik, also the MLA from Mal Assembly constituency, feared that the death count may increase.

"I was present at the spot when the incident happened. Several people were swept away and the water current was very strong. Hundreds of people were present when the incident took place. Several are still missing," he said. Mr Baraik and senior Trinamool leaders are overseeing the rescue work.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office said that he was anguished by the tragedy. "Anguished by the mishap during Durga Puja festivities in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones," the PMO quoted the Prime Minister as saying. The PMO also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the dead and an assistance of Rs 50,000 for those injured. 

Leader of the Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari requested the state administration to step up rescue efforts.

"Saddening news coming from Jalpaiguri as flash flood in Mal river during Durga Puja immersion swept away many people. Few deaths have been reported till now. I request the DM of Jalpaiguri & @chief_west to urgently step up rescue efforts & provide assistance to those in distress," he tweeted.

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