Twenty-five persons, including three children, were charred to death when the bus they were travelling in caught fire on an expressway in Maharashtra’s Buldhana on Saturday, PTI reported.
The tragedy took place at around 1.30 am on the Samruddhi Expressway. The private sleeper coach bus was travelling from Nagpur to Pune and had 33 persons on board.
According to the police, the bus was moving at a high speed when the driver allegedly lost control and hit a poll and a wall, reported The Indian Express.
“Due to its impact, the two front tyres came off and the diesel tank of the bus exploded, following which the bus caught fire,” an unidentified police officer said.
Another officer said that the bus fell on its right side with the door facing the sky. Some passengers, including the driver of the bus, managed to come out through broken windows, according to PTI.
Buldhana Superintendent of Police Sunil Kadasane said that the driver has been taken into custody.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply saddened by the mishap and added that the local administration was providing all possible assistance to those involved in the accident.
He also announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh for the family of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also expressed his anguish over the accident and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of the deceased.
Shinde, along with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, also visited the accident site in Buldhana.
Fadnavis said the bodies were charred beyond recognition and if the identity of the victims is not established, then a DNA test would be conducted, reported NDTV.
He added that a smart system to flag high speed in vehicles is being installed on the expressway.
“The system will check the speed of vehicles and alert them,” the deputy chief minister said. “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.”
Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray claimed that more than 300 people have lost their lives on the expressway since it was opened last year.
“But the government has not done anything to stop the accidents,” the former Maharashtra chief minister added. “Hope the Buldhana accident will open the eyes of the government.”