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Runaway ship rams into jetty
The jetty which was crushed on Thursday (top) and the earlier collapse. Pictures by Amit Datta

Calcutta, Sept. 7: A foreign cargo ship which lost control smashed into the Nazirgunge jetty this morning when around 50 people were about to board a launch to travel down the Ganges.

However, no one was injured in the incident which took place around 11.15 am.

While the launch, Jaljatra, and the jetty were damaged, the jetty’s carriageway was torn apart.

This is the second time the jetty — a vital link connecting Nazirgunge at the Howrah end and Metiabruz in Calcutta — has collapsed. In 1995, it had collapsed because of a “resonance effect” when a crowd ran down the carriageway.

“It will take at least seven days to repair the jetty. Since the incident took place during a high tide, we have not been able to assess the extent of the damage but by modest estimates, the loss should be anywhere between Rs 15 and 20 lakh,” said Lagan Deo Singh, the chairman of the Hooghly Nadi Jalpath Paribahan Samannay Samity.

The samity maintains the jetty, which is used by around 15,000 to 20,000 commuters.

Eyewitnesses said a large crowd was on its way down the jetty’s carriageway to the pontoon to board Jaljatra when the cargo ship from Cyprus, Taxi Archis Sierra Mimassol, came speeding towards the jetty.

“Going by the direction of the ship, I could realise it would hit the pontoon. From the top of the deck, I started screaming, asking everyone on the pontoon and the carriageway to run away. It was a bizarre sight and I jumped to escape,” said Bani Kanta Mondol, the master of the launch.

As people scampered back, the ship hit the pontoon and the launch. Five iron chains and the anchor that hold the pontoon gave way. The carriageway, too, crashed into the river.

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