Police, civil defence, disaster management and national disaster response forces on Tuesday retrieved one of the eight trucks that had rolled off a plank of a large steamer and fallen into the Ganga at Manikchak here on Monday evening.
Of the 17 workers on trucks who had fallen into the river, 14 were rescued or managed to swim to safety. Three men and seven trucks are still missing.
Eight trucks laden with stone chips and sand arrived from Rajmahal, Jharkhand, on a vessel to Manikchak via the waterway. The mishap occurred when the vessel was anchored at Manikchak, and an iron plank on which the trucks would roll out shook. The trucks toppled in a domino effect.
It was initially thought that 22 men inside the eight trucks had fallen into the river among whom 14 were traceless. On Tuesday, counting revealed that 17 men had fallen in the river, and as of Tuesday evening, three — Montu Sheikh, Moina Sheikh and Tarachand Yadav — are missing. Search is on for them.
The process of retrieving the rest of the seven trucks is on as well.
Since Tuesday morning, excavators have been engaged in the search operations in the Ganga. Speedboats are also making the rounds to track the three men and the seven trucks till sundown.
“The search operations will continue on Wednesday as well,” said a police officer at the site.
The mishap prodded a number of political leaders, including Sujan Chakraborty of the CPM, Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury and Gobinda Mandal of the BJP to visit the spot on Tuesday.
They blamed the lack of proper infrastructure at the ghat and demanded construction of a proper jetty.
“Overloading in trucks, illegal tenders and many other causes are indirectly responsible for the mishap,” Mitra Chaudhury alleged.
Trinamul’s Rajya Sabha member Mausam Noor and Malda Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati Gour Mandal also went to Manikchak and supervised the rescue operations.
“It was an accident. However, the BJP and some other parties are trying to use it to reap political dividends,” said Gour Mandal.