At least 27 passengers were killed when a Delhi-bound passenger bus overturned and caught fire in east Champaran district of Bihar on Thursday afternoon. Most of the bodies were charred beyond recognition. The state government has ordered a probe into the incident.
As per reports, the bus carrying around 35 passengers had left for Delhi from Muzaffarpur bus stop. However, as it crossed into the boundary of east Champaran, in a bid to avoid a biker, the bus lost control and fell into the roadside ditch. Within moments, it went up in flames.
The fire spread so fast that most of the passengers didn’t get time to come out and were charred to death. Only a few passengers managed to escape.
“As per my information, 27 passengers have been killed in the incident,” Bihar disaster management minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav told newsmen, adding that massive relief and rescue operation had been launched. According to the minister, the bus lost control in a bid to save a motorcyclist. He announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to each victim’s family.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the incident. The chief minister was addressing a function when news of the accident came in. He got up and asked the audience to stand up and maintain a minute’s silence in respect for the deceased.
Rescue teams have rushed to the spot and are trying hard to extricate the charred bodies. The challenge before the authorities now is to identify the charred bodies and hand them over to the families. Disaster management secretary Pratyay Amrit said the casualty figures might go up.