Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: As many as 44 passengers were burnt alive early Wednesday when a bus caught fire in Andhra Pradesh`s Mahabubnagar district.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called the mishap as unfortunate.
On microblogging website Twitter, Modi tweeted: “The bus fire mishap in Andhra Pradesh is unfortunate. My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers for those injured.”
A private bus coming to Hyderabad from Bangalore caught fire after hitting a culvert around 5.20 am near Palem in Kottakota mandal of Mahabubnagar district, about 150 km from here.
Flames engulfed the bus within no time as the diesel tanker burst after hitting the culvert, a police official said quoting eye witnesses.
According to driver, the Volvo air-conditioned bus, belonging to Jabbar Travels, was carrying 49 passengers.
The passengers were asleep when the accident took place, leaving no time for them to escape. The victims were charred beyond recognition.
People from nearby village said the bus was reduced to ashes within few minutes.
Policemen with the help of forensic experts were seen retrieving charred remains of the passengers and keeping them under a tent erected near the scene on Bangalore-Hyderabad national highway. The experts will conduct DNA test to identity the bodies.
The bus left Bangalore at 10 pm on Tuesday and was scheduled to reach Hyderabad at 6.30 am.
Anxious relatives of some of the passengers rushed to Jabbar Travels office here for information. However, the private operator did not have the list of passengers and other details.
Mahabubnagar district police have opened a helpline to provide information. Following are the helpline numbers: 9494600100, 08542-245927, 245930, 245932.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has ordered probe.
(With IANS inputs)