Six women pilgrims died after they fell ill while queuing among thousands of pilgrims on jetty number 5 at Kachuberia transit point in Sagar Island on Sunday. The incident took place when they were returning after taking the holy dip at the confluence of river Ganga.
State Public Health Engineering minister, Subrata Mukherjee, said that according to the reports, it seems that the mishap took place because all the pilgrims hurried to board the last ferry after it was announced that ferry services would be suspended for the next half an hour owing to low tide.
Cops said that the ferry services had resumed at around 10 am on Sunday following high tide. “The service continued throughout the day but in the evening the authorities had to seize the service due to low tide,” said sources.
Sundarbans Development minister Manturam Pakhira said, “The pilgrims died because of cardiac arrest. The victim’s families will soon receive the compensation as per the set norms.”
Reportedly, there was a mad rush on all the jetties as the services were disrupted due to the perilous condition of the river current. The situation worsened when the passengers were informed about ferry services being suspended after 5pm. Following the announcement, most of them were in a mad rush to board the vessel when 16 of them fell ill. Following this, the volunteers immediately initiated rescue work. The ailing pilgrims were rushed to the hospital where six were declared brought dead and 10 others are stated to be critical.
According to the police, around 14 lakh people had visited the Ganga Sagar Mela this year.
Confirming the incident, the cops said that the rest of the pilgrims are now returning to the mainland.