At least 45 people, including young railway job aspirants and players of a local cricket team, were killed on Tuesday morning when the bus they were travelling in fell into a canal in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh. The deceased include 24 men, 20 women and one child.

Rescuers saved seven persons who were trapped inside the vehicle that was completely submerged. The canal is brimming with water these days as water from the Ban Sagar dam is being supplied through it to Uttar Pradesh.

According to sources, the bus, which had left Sidhi and was heading towards Satna, was carrying nearly 55 passengers.

It is said that the bus fell into the canal from Patna Bridge located near the Sarda Patan village in Sidhi, after the driver lost control.

Rescuers managed to retrieve 45 bodies while a search was on for the remaining passengers.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and an additional Rs 2 lakh each from the PM Relief Fund.

The state government will also provide Rs 50,000 to each of the injured.

State water resources minister Tulsiram Silawat and Panchayat and Rural Development minister Ram Khelawan Patel rushed to the spot. Chouhan cancelled the “Griha Pravesham” programme scheduled today under the PM Housing Scheme (Rural).