Lucknow: 7 children feared drowned after van falls in canal

Team Udayavani, Jun 20, 2019, 3:10 PM IST

Lucknow: At least seven children were feared drowned and 22 others persons rescued after a pick-up van in which they were travelling plunged into the Indira canal near here, district officials said Thursday.

The van carrying 29 people fell into the canal in Nagram area on the city’s outskrits during wee hours of Thursday, Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said.

The passengers were returning from a marriage ceremony in neighbouring Barabanki district.

While 22 of them were rescued, seven children were missing even 12 hours after the mishap occurred, officials said.

“As many as seven children, all in the age-group of 5-10 years, are missing. They might have been washed away in the rapid current of the water in the canal…rescue operations are on,” Sharma, who rushed to the site, told PTI.

Meanwhile, a large crowd of onlookers gathered at the place of the accident where parents of some of the missing children accused the driver of the pick-up van of being under the influence of alcohol.

One of the aggrieved parents, Lajjawati, said, “The driver of the van was under the influence of alcohol and was driving at a high speed when he overshot a bend and the van hurtled down the canal.”

She said some of the passengers had repeatedly asked him to slow down, but he ignored their plea leading to the accident.

Sub-divisional magistrate of Mohanlalganj tehsil, Suryakant, said, “The allegation that the driver was under the influence of alcohol is being examined. He has been sent for medical examination to establish whether he had consumed alcohol.”

Even the district magistrate said that the vehicle was moving at a fast speed when it fell into the canal. He said the vehicle has been retrieved and a technical examination will establish the actual reason behind the accident.

“Whether the driver was in an inebriated state is not known. In fact, the driver did not run away and rather helped in rescuing the passengers,” Sharma said.

Officials said those missing are Mansi (4), Manisha (5), Saurabh (8), Sachin (6), Sajan (8), Aman (9) and one more child, whose name was not immediately available. The DM said that divers have been engaged to search the missing children.

Immediately on getting the news of the tragedy, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed senior police officials and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and SDRF personnel to speed up the rescue operations, a statement issued by the UP government said.

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