Fifteen feared killed in bridge mishap in Darjeeling

United News of India

Siliguri, October 22, 2011

About fifteen people were feared killed and about 60 to 70 other injured when a wooden hanging bridge collapsed at Rangit Khola in Bijanbari under Phoolbazar police station area in Darjeeling this evening, official sources said.
Additional District Magistrate (administration) Rajat Kumar said some 10 to 15 people were feared dead and some 60-70 others injured in the accident.
But these figurs could not be immediately confirmed because of difficulties in reaching the spot, official sources said. All the injured were being rushed to different hospitals.
District magistrate Soumitra Mohan rushed to the site of accident, the sources said.
Earlier, police said some 50 to 60 people fell into the river when the bridge gave in under pressure of people during a meeting at a new college opening ceremony.
Darjeeling district Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar said many people fell into the river and some of them died. "But I cannot give any specific number right now," he said.
Eyewitnesses, however, said some eight to ten people might have died  after stampede following collapse of the bridge.
Mr Anand said fire brigade and police personnel rushed to the area to rescue the the victims, but poor light and darkness hampered the efforts.
Fire brigade official P K Sharma said the dilapidated bridge gave in under pressure and people fell some 40 to 50 feet into the river Rangit below.
The area also witnessing a concluding ceremony of the travel and tourism festival, which was being organised by youth wing of Gorkha Janmutkti Morcha.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb to rush to the site.