Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh: 16 people died and almost two dozen were seriously injured after a private bus collided with a stationary truck in Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich district late on Friday night.
The bus was carrying pilgrims to Ajmer Sharief from Sultanpur.
Eyewitnesses say the bus caught fire immediately after it rammed into the truck making it impossible for passengers to escape.
District Magistrate Kinjal Singh, who reached the spot to oversee rescue operations, declined to specify how many people might have been inside the 54-seater bus.
However, many eyewitnesses told NDTV that the administration arrived very late and villagers nearby had rescued most of the people. Many bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Ms Singh told PTI that prima face, it appeared that the bus caught fire possibly due to the explosion of a cooking gas cylinder inside the vehicle. However, an inquiry will establish the cause, she added.
Chief Development Officer of the district Sukhlal Bharti said the bus was carrying about 60 to 70 people. However, Mehdi Raza, one of the rescued passengers, told PTI that there were about 80 people in the bus when the accident took place.
Rescuers, using gas-cutters, cut open the twisted metal of the bus to pull out bodies and survivors from inside the vehicle.
Story first published:
May 19, 2012 08:24 IST