- A private bus fell off a bridge into a canal this morning
- Over 50 passengers were on board when driver lost control of vehicle
- "Bus accident in MP's Sidhi is horrific," Prime Minister's office tweeted
At least 51 people have died in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district, about 560 km from state capital Bhopal, after a bus fell off a bridge into a canal this morning.
More than 50 passengers were on board the bus when the driver lost control of the vehicle at around 7:30 am.
A team of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), along with other officials concerned, began the rescue operations in the morning, which spanned for more than five hours. Doctors and ambulances were also rushed to the site.
"Bus accident in MP's Sidhi is horrific. Condolences to the bereaved families. The local administration is actively involved in rescue and relief work," Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office had tweeted earlier; the centre announced a relief of Rs 2 lakh for the families of those who've died.
Bus accident in MP's Sidhi is horrific. Condolences to the bereaved families. The local administration is actively involved in rescue and relief work: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 16, 2021
PM @narendramodi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the bus accident in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 16, 2021
"What has happened is extremely tragic. Families of those who have died will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. The entire state is standing with those affected," Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a video message.
The state government cancelled a key event in view of the accident, which was to be virtually attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
सीधी की दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण घटना को लेकर मैं लगातार प्रशासन से और राहतकार्य में लगे हुए लोगों से चर्चा कर रहा हूँ।— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) February 16, 2021
बहुत दुःखद है कि दुर्घटना में 18 लोगों की जान चली गई है। मन बहुत व्यथित है। बचावकार्य लगातार जारी है; कलेक्टर, कमिश्नर, आईजी, एसपी, एसडीआरएफ की टीम लगी हुई है। pic.twitter.com/TYPKV786Hf
The Home Minister was scheduled to attend the event at 11 am for the beneficiaries of over one lakh houses constructed in Madhya Pradesh under the centre's Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
"Brothers and sisters, today we were very excited to hold this event for 1 lakh beneficiaries. But we got the tragic news of the Sidhi bus accident. Rescue operations are on. Please pray for the safety of the passengers. We are postponing the event. We will hold it on another day," Mr Chouhan said, adding that he is "continuously monitoring the situation".
मेरे भाइयों-बहनों, आज हम उत्साह से एक लाख घरों में गृह प्रवेश का यह कार्यक्रम संपन्न करने वाले थे, लेकिन सीधी में यात्रियों से भरी बस नहर में गिरने की दुखद सूचना सुबह मिली। राहत और बचाव का कार्य जारी है। ऐसी परिस्थिति में मेरा मन भी वहीं लगा हुआ है। pic.twitter.com/nfeOWLKum5— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) February 16, 2021
The private bus - going from Sidhi to Satna - fell into the Sharda canal.
Eye witnesses said that the bus drowned completely into the water, news agency PTI reported.
Later, the district administration stopped the release of water into the canal from the Banganga project, which sped up the rescue operations. Two cranes pulled out the bus from the canal.
(With inputs from PTI, AFP)