At least 18 labourers resting on the side of a road were crushed to death under a bus in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district on Wednesday, the police said. Twenty-five people were injured in the accident and have been moved to a hospital.
The accident took place on the Lucknow-Ayodhya national highway around 1.30 am, according to the Hindustan Times.
Satya Narayan Sabat, the additional director general of police of Lucknow Zone, said the labourers, who are natives of Bihar, were returning from Punjab and Haryana on the bus. The police officer added that the axle shaft of the bus broke down, and the driver asked the passengers to step out of the vehicle so he could fix it.
Sabat added that some bodies were still stuck under the bus and efforts were on to retrieve them.
“The police and district administration have begun an investigation into this tragic accident and are ensuring that injured receive proper treatment,” the police officer added.
A survivor identified as Bharat told NDTV that the bus broke down around 8 pm and the driver informed that the repair work will take time. “Many of us came out of the bus,” Bharat said. “A few were sleeping on the road, a few were eating or resting. A few hours later, at around 11 pm, a truck collided into the parked bus, resulting in many casualties.”
Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad announced that families of the passengers can call on the helpline number 9454417464 to seek necessary details.
He told PTI that 12 of those who died have been identified as Suresh Yadav (35), Indal Mahto (25), Sikandar Mukhiya (40), Monu Sahani (30), Jagdish Sahani (40), Jai Bahadur Sahani (40), Baijnathram (55), Balram Mandal (55), Santosh Singh (30), Bouwa (24), Naresh (37) and Akhilesh Mukhiya (30).
Efforts are on to ascertain the identity of the remaining victims, Prasad said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief and said his thoughts were with those hurt by the incident. Modi added that he has spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and said that arrangements are being made for medical treatment to the injured persons.
Modi also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the families of those who died in the incident. The injured would be given Rs 50,000 each.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said she was “extremely saddened” to hear about the incident. “I pray to God that those who were injured regain good health soon,” she tweeted. “I appeal to Congress workers to extend every possible help to those affected.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the government should ensure proper treatment of those injured. “The government should make free of cost arrangements to send the mortal remains of the victims back home,” she added. “The BSP also demands that the ex-gratia amount should be disbursed immediately.”