Over 20 people were killed and a few are feared trapped in debris at a highway in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore after a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus collided with a container truck on Thursday morning. Twenty-three are reported to be injured.

The Kerala government-run Volvo bus which had a 50-seat capacity was going to Ernakulam from Bengaluru in Karnataka, state Transport Minister AK Saseendran told reporters.

The police said the number of dead is likely to rise.

According to NDTV, the right side of the white bus is seen completely mangled, the driver’s area is smashed in and the damaged bus lies tilted. Reports said the tyre of the truck burst while it was in speed, and the container got detached and rolled on to the road before colliding with the bus.

Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran said, “48 passengers were on board. 42 of them are from Kerala, going to Ernakulam, Palakkad, Thrissur.” The bodies have been taken to the Tirupur government hospital. Kerala ministers VS Sunil Kumar and Saseendran are heading to the spot.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has instructed the District Collector of Palakkad to provide emergency medical care to the accident victims. Procedures to identify the deceased are in progress.