9 die as pick-up van falls into Ganga

Patna, Apr 23 (PTI): Nine people died when a pick-up van carrying a marriage party fell from a pontoon bridge into river Ganga in Patna’s Danapur locality on Friday morning, District Magistrate Chandrasekhar Singh said.
The driver of the vehicle with 13 people on board lost control of it while crossing the Peepa Pul in Akihpur area, he said.
Four people swam to safety while nine died, the DM said. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the incident.
He ordered that the ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh each for the next of kin of the dead be given without any delay, an official statement said here. The pick-up van was carrying members of a family returning from a marriage function at Akhipur to their Chitrakut Nagar residence in Danapur. The incident took place around 7.30 am, the DM said. BJP Lok Sabha member and former union minister Ramkripal Yadav reached the spot and supervised rescue operations.
Yadav told PTI that he was at the spot for nearly two hours and ensured speedy rescue efforts, which are being carried out by an NDRF team.
NDRF 9th Battalion Assistant Commandant (Bihta) Vinay Kumar said the pick-up van has been pulled out of the river with the help of a crane.
The NDRF official as well as the eyewitnesses said that the pick-up van veered off the pontoon bridge and plunged into the river after breaking the iron railing.

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