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Man falls off launch, feared drowned

Tamluk, Nov. 29: A man in his forties is feared drowned in the Hooghly after he fell this morning from the roof of an overcrowded launch in East Midnapore.

Passengers said that the man was among 30 people who had climbed on the top of the shed erected to shield passengers from the sun and rain. He fell into the river when the launch had moved only about 200 metres from the riverbank. There were about 200 passengers on board against the official capacity of 100.

Haldia police could not trace him till this evening. “We shouted but the launch operator and other crew members did not stop the ferry. The launch sailed towards Diamond Harbour on the other bank,” said Bidhan Patra, a Haldia dock employee.

Chairman of the Trinamul Congress-run Diamond Harbour municipality, Pannalal Haldar, denied that the launch was overcrowded. He said that police keep check on the number of person getting on board.