Panaji: Three members of a family were among four people killed after a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) fell into the Zuari river in South Goa district in the wee hours of Thursday, an official said.
The accident took place around 1.10 am. Navy divers pulled the vehicle out of the waters on Thursday afternoon and rescuers had to cut its doors to retrieve the four bodies, he said.
The SUV had tried to overtake a car over the Zuari river bridge on a national highway at Cortalim village, about 15 km from the state capital Panaji.
It rammed into the bridge railings and plunged into the river, police said.
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The deceased included a man, his wife, brother, and a common friend from Loutolim village in South Goa who were on their way to the state capital Panaji, an official said.
The SUV was apparently over-speeding and while trying to overtake another vehicle, it broke the bridge railings and plunged into the river, police said.
A massive search and rescue operation involving personnel from the Navy, Coast Guard, police, and state fire and emergency services was launched soon after the accident
The operation had to stop at night due to darkness.
On Thursday morning, Navy divers traced the SUV on the river bed and located the bodies three hours later at around 11.30 am, an official said.
“Rescuers had to cut the SUV’s doors to retrieve the bodies,” he said, adding that a boat from the state river navigation department was used to bring the SUV ashore.
“We have learned that the victims had a party in their village on Wednesday night and they left the place to go to Panaji at around 12.30 am,” the official said.
The bridge is located on a national highway between Margao (South Goa) and Panaji cities.