“They Were Sleeping”: 25 Dead As Bus Catches Fire On Maharashtra Expressway, Maharashtra Bus Accident: About 33 people were in the bus which was on its way to Pune, officials said, adding that the accident occurred at around 1.30 am on the Samruddhi Mahamarg Expressway.
At least 25 people, including three children, were killed and eight others injured when the bus they were traveling in caught fire on an expressway in Maharashtra early this morning.
About 33 people were in the bus which was on its way to Pune, officials said, adding that the accident occurred at around 1.30 am on the Samruddhi-Mahamarg Expressway.
Police said the bus overturned after hitting a pole on the expressway in Buldhana district and caught fire. “The driver of the bus, who survived the incident, said that the bus hit the pole after a tire burst,” they said.
Police said most of the passengers were sleeping at the time of the accident. The bus overturned on the side of the doors, blocking it, because of which nobody could get out, they said.
“25 people were burnt to death in the accident. The injured have been shifted to a hospital for treatment, said, Sunil Kadasane, Superintendent of Police, Buldhana.
He said the investigation is on to ascertain the exact cause of the accident and that the driver has been taken into custody. “The priority at this moment is to identify the bodies and hand them over to their family members,” said Mr Kadasane.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of lives.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also expressed his anguish over the accident and announced a compensation of ₹ 5 lahks each for the families of those who have died.
“While giving instructions to provide immediate help to the accident victims, the Chief Minister also directed to provide immediate medical treatment to the injured at government expense,” his office said.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the bodies were charred beyond recognition and if the identity of the victims is not established, then DNA testing will be conducted.
He said a smart system is being installed on the expressway to prevent accidents. “The system will check the speed of vehicles and alert them. But it will take some time. Till then, we will have to create awareness among drivers at the toll booths on what precautions need to be taken to prevent accidents at night,” he said.