45 passengers die when bus catches fire
Volvo bus was reportedly overtaking car when it hit a stone culvert
Onlookers stand next to a burnt-out bus after an accident on a road between the southern Indian cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad in which 45 passengers died. Photograph: Reuters
Forty-five people died when the bus they were in caught fire after an accident on a road between the southern Indian cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad yesterday.
The privately operated Volvo bus was reportedly overtaking a car when it hit a stone culvert covering a drain. The fire was so intense that only five passengers, along with the vehicle’s driver and cleaner, escaped.
“It seems the bus was travelling at a high speed when its fuel tank hit the roadside culvert and caught fire,” said a local police officer, Srinivas Reddy. “The passengers in the bus were burned beyond recognition. The entire bus has been gutted.”
Road deaths are commonplace in India. According to the World Health Organisation, the country’s toll of 105,725 last year was the highest in the world.
An unidentified survivor said most of the passengers were sleeping when the bus caught fire.
“Some of us tried to break open the window glass, but were unable to do so,” the person said. “I immediately moved towards the emergency exit window and broke it and managed to jump out of the bus.”
The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, expressed his sorrow over the accident.
– (Guardian service)