Palem: Shrieks, screams and cries of agony rent the village`s air as 45 people including a baby girl were charred to death when a private bus caught fire in the wee hours on Wednesday.
The bus was on its way to Hyderabad from Bengaluru carrying 50 passengers excluding the driver and his assistant (cleaner) when the tragedy struck.
Anxious relatives of the deceased rushed to the spot only to see blackened remains of their loved ones, as badly burned bodies lay at the mishap-site, making it difficult for wailing families to identify them.
Police and other government machinery had a tough time extricating bodies from the fire-ravaged bus as the dead piled up at the back of the vehicle indicating the struggle the passengers underwent before finally giving up.
Officials had to use metal cutters to break open the charred bus frame to enter inside the mangled vehicle.
"I heard the news on television and rushed to the spot as my brother-in-law (Vedapati) was also travelling in the bus. He was supposed to celebrate Dipavali here with us. I am not able to recognise his body," said a grieved relative.
Vedapati was working for a private Bank in Bangalore, the relative said.
Relatives will have to wait for some time for the mortal remains of their loved ones as police have decided to conduct DNA tests before handing over bodies.
"Ten families have approached us from different places so far and only two bodies have been identified with the help of the gold ornaments and dresses they were wearing," D Nagendra Kumar, SP Mahabubnagar said.
"The identification process is a long one as the DNA test will have to confirm the identity of the victims. Until then, the remains will be preserved," the police official added.
Police have recovered some half-burnt books related to software programming suggesting either students or software professionals were also travelling in the ill-fated bus.