An apparently debt-ridden man allegedly flung his five tender-aged daughters from a 65-feet high bridge into the Narmada river in Bharuch town of south Gujarat, police said on Friday.
A massive search operation has been undertaken since Thursday evening after a 60-year-old woman, who witnessed the incident, got in touch with the police.
Salim Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, a rickshaw driver from Veradia village, allegedly flung his daughters -- aged between three and seven years -- 'one by one' from Jadeshwar bridge, investigating officer V J Patel told PTI.
According to Sheikh's wife, her husband informed her on telephone at about 1610 IST on Thursday that he was going to commit suicide along with the children.
"His wife says Sheikh's debt had mounted to Rs 10,000 and this could be the reason of taking such an extreme step," Patel said
The fire brigade, divers and policemen have joined the search operation.
"The flow of the river is not turbulent, but the water is cold and nearly 20 feet deep. Generally, in such circumstances bodies are recovered after about 48 hours," he added.
Patel said Sheikh is a native of Surat and he migrated to Veradia two years back.
"We have also dispatched police teams to Surat and Veradia to look for Sheikh," the official said.