At least 12 people were killed when a bus fell off the Mahanadi bridge in Cuttack on Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported, quoting the Odisha Police. The bus was travelling from Talcher to Cuttack with 35 passengers on board.

The incident took place when the driver hit the brakes to avoid a buffalo that was standing in the vehicle’s path. The bus smashed through the bridge’s cement railing and fell 30 feet on to a sandbar. Several injured passengers are being treated at a local hospital.

Director General of Police Rajendra Sharma said he has deployed a deputy commissioner of police, senior officials and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force personnel at the accident spot.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked Health Minister Pratap Jena to visit the site and take stock of the situation. Patnaik also directed the district administration and SCB Medical College and Hospital to provide immediate and free treatment to the injured. The chief minister announced ex gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those who were killed.

Police Commissioner Satyajit Mohanty, Fire Services Director General BK Sharma, Cuttack Deputy Commissioner of Police Akhileshwar Singh, Cuttack Collector Arvind Agarwal, and other officials were present at the accident site, The Odisha Sun Times reported.