Ahmedabad, Aug. 28: At least 21 students of Fatima Convent in Daman were killed on their way back from school along with three others when the 150-year-old Damanganga bridge collapsed today.
A mini-bus in which the students in the age group of 10-15 years were returning home plunged into 40-foot-deep waters when the 350-metre-long bridge collapsed apparently due to heavy rain.
The toll may go up as the bridge collapsed at 1.35 pm when traffic is heavy. Two autorickshaws, two Maruti vans, one Tata Qualis and over half-a-dozen two wheelers also plunged into the swirling waters of the river that divides the Union territory. Some people are yet to be pulled out.
The additional director-general of police (Daman) told PTI over phone that the deceased include 12 girls and nine boys.
At least 25 people were also injured, 11 of them seriously. Six of them have been admitted to a hospital in neighbouring Haria town, while five have been rushed to Mumbai.
As the tragedy struck, anxious and angry parents of the students gathered at police stations to lodge reports about their missing children.
The bridge built by the Portuguese was the only link between Nani Daman, which houses the Union territory’s secretariat, and the residential areas of Moti Daman.
The navy, coast guard and local fishermen are involved in the rescue operation, which was hampered by incessant rain and high tide.