Seven persons have been killed and several others are feared missing following a flash flood in Mal river at Malbazar in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district while local Durga Puja organisers assembled at the river bank for immersion of the Durga idols on the occasion of Dussehra, police said.
The Jalpaiguri District Magistrate, Moumita Godara Basu confirmed the death toll as seven.
"Several people assembled at the Mal river bank at 9 p.m. when the flash flood swept several people. The administration immediately stopped the immersion of idols there. By late Wednesday evening seven bodies had been recovered. Nearly 40 persons have been rescued who were swept by the flash flood and got stuck on a local island," the District Magistrate said.
Flash flood at the Malbazar river during Durga Viserjan. More than 100 people missing. No one knows how many dead! Many trying to save their loved ones! A black day for my home town. We need all your prayers. Pray for us.. pic.twitter.com/RCWwpt5bVW— Vikram Agarwal (@Vikram_Tub) October 5, 2022
Jalpaiguri's District Police Superintendent, Debarshi Dutta said that initially only two bodies were recovered and as the rescue operations started five more bodies were recovered.
"The rescue operations are being conducted by teams of district police, State Disaster Management Department and the National Disaster Response Force," Dutta added.
However, state police sources said that because of the evening hours, the rescue teams are facing difficulties in the rescue operations.
JALPAIGURI (WEST BENGAL): 7 DEAD & SEVERAL MISSING AFTER WATER LEVEL ROSE DUE TO FLASH FLOOD IN MAL RIVER IN JALPAIGURI DISTRICT DURING IMMERSION. Really Tragic! #BreakingNews #Tragedy #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/2ECf1AmVXS— Upadhi Gulati (@UpadhiGulati) October 5, 2022
"It will take some more hours, at least till tomorrow morning, to gauge the exact number of casualties and missing persons so far," a district police official said.
He also added that the exact number of missing persons are yet to be ascertained.
The local Trinamool Congress MLA from Mal Assembly constituency, Bulu Chik Baraik said that besides the administration the local people are also assisting the rescue teams in their operations.
"The evening hours are posing difficulty in swift rescue operations," he added.