Eight people were killed and 18 others injured when a bus plunged into a roadside ditch smashing through the railing of a bridge in Faridpur sadar upazila yesterday.
The deceased include six bus passengers, the bus supervisor, and the rider of a motorcycle with which the bus collided before veering off the road.
The bridge in Dhuldi area where the accident took place is more than 30 years old and a portion of its railing was made of bamboos.
Police and witnesses said the bus of Comfort Line Paribahan was headed for Gopalganj from Dhaka. At around 2:00pm, when the bus was crossing the bridge on Dhaka-Khulna Highway, the driver tried to overtake a slow-moving three-wheeler and ended up hitting the motorbike from the opposite direction.
Then the bus broke through the railing and fell into the 15 foot deep ditch with the motorcycle, said AFM Nasim, officer-in-charge of Faridpur Sadar Police Station, quoting witnesses.
Five bus passengers and the motorcyclist died on the spot, and two others on the way to hospital, said police. Three of the dead are Faruk Mollah, 59, and Md Hanif, 51, of Kashiani upazila of Gopalganj and Asma Begum of the district sadar upazila. The identities of the rest were not known immediately.
Talking to The Daily Star, bus passenger and survivor Rakib Hossain, 29, said, “The driver was overspeeding. Some passengers asked him to drive slowly and carefully, but he did not listen. Finally, the accident happened.”
Khalek Dewan, 46, a farmer of Dhuldi village who witnessed the accident, said, “I was working on my field near Dhuldi bridge. Suddenly, I heard a terrible sound and saw the bus in the ditch. I shouted for help and rushed to the spot. Along with other locals, I rescued some injured people and sent them to hospital.”
Meanwhile, Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways Department in Faridpur KM Naquibul Bari said, “A portion of the bridge’s railing was made of bamboos where the steel was damaged.”
“This was a temporary fix,” he said, but could not tell when the bamboos were put up there. “I took charge of the department six months ago. The bamboo railing was installed before that.”
The official said the bridge is old and damaged. A new bridge is being built beside it, the construction of which is now at the final stage, he said. “We have put up a signboard citing the condition of the bridge.”
Asked why the bamboo railing was not changed in more than six months, he said, “The bus skidded off the bridge where the railing was made of steel. I heard the bus was overspeeding and fell off the bridge while overtaking a motorcycle.”
FOUR MORE DIE IN SEPARATE ACCIDENTS
Meanwhile, four more people were killed and 21 others injured in separate road accidents in different districts yesterday.
In Faridpur, three people including a woman and her son were killed and two others injured as a local bus hit a battery-run easy bike in Talma Mor area in Nagarkanda upazila.
The deceased were Reshma Begum, 30, and her son Md Roni, 8, of Barokhadiya village, and Abul Sikder, 42, of Monohorpur village of the same upazila.
Quoting locals, Officer-in-Charge of Nagarkanda Police Station Mizanur Rahman said easy bike passengers Reshma and her son died on the spot.
The injured were taken to Faridpur Medical College Hospital, but passers-by Abul
Sikder died on the way. Police seized the bus but the driver fled.
In Thakurgaon, the helper of a bus was killed and nine others injured when the bus hit a roadside tree and got overturned in Jagannathpur area of the sadar upazila.
The dead was Yusuf Ali, 45, of Dakkhin Sreepur village in Chandpur’s Haziganj upazila.
The accident took place around 5:00am when the driver lost control over the wheel, said Ahmadullah Haque, sub-inspector of Thakurgaon Police Station.
Fire-fighters and police brought the injured to Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital where Yusuf died.
In Narayanganj, at least 10 people were injured when a bus collided head-on with a staff bus of a garment factory in Shiddhirganj.