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8 people killed, many missing in flash floods in West Bengal during Durga idol immersion

Screengrab. Eight people died and several are feared missing when flashfloods hit Mal river in West Bengal during Durga idol immersion

The Durga Puja celebrations turned tragic in West Bengal as eight people drowned and several went missing following a flash flood hitting Mal river in Jalpaiguri district during the immersion of the idols last night.

Video:

The footage shows people struggling against the river current when they tried to get back to the banks. Many were swept away.

Sharing details about the incident with PTI, District Magistrate Moumita Godara said people in 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 went on to add: “Search and rescue operations are being carried out by teams of the NDRF, SDRF, police and the local administration. Search operations have started downstream.”

Expressing his sorrow at the tragedy Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Anguished by the mishap during Durga Puja festivities in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones.”

Bulu Chik Baraik, MLA from Mal who is also the State Backward Classes Welfare Minister said he 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.”