9 Burnt To Death As Bus Carrying Devotees Catches Fire In Haryana

A motorcycle rider followed the bus and tried to warn the driver about the flames erupting from the vehicle.

Locals alleged that the fire officials arrived three hours late.

Nine devotees were killed and dozens others injured after their bus caught fire on the Kundali-Manesar-Palwal Expressway in Haryana on Friday night, officials said. The devotees were returning from a pilgrimage to Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh when the fire broke out near Nuh.

The bus was carrying over 60 people of a family, including women and children, all of whom were residents of Punjab.

Survivors said they smelled smoke at the back of the bus at around 1.30 am on Saturday.

A motorcycle rider noticed flames at the back of the bus and followed it. He finally caught up to the bus and warned the driver who stopped the bus.

"We had hired the bus to go on a pilgrimage to holy sites for 10 days. We were returning home on Friday night. We smelled smoke while we were sleeping. The bus stopped after the motorcycle rider alerted the driver," one of the survivors said.

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After the bus stopped, locals informed the police and tried to extinguish the fire and rescue people. After the fire brigade reached the spot, the blaze was doused and the injured were rushed to nearby hospitals.

Locals alleged that the fire officials arrived three hours later after the bus had completely burned down. "We ran behind the bus and broke the windows to pull out as many people as we could before the fire grew too intense. We informed police but they took too long to arrive," a local said.

"Nine people -- six women and three men -- were killed in the accident. Fifteen people were injured and have been hospitalised. All the injured are stable," said Inspector Jitendra Kumar told news agency PTI.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.