- The 165-km-long expressway connects Noida with Agra in Uttar Pradesh
- The bus skidded off the expressway and fell 50 feet into a large drain
- The state government-run bus was going from Lucknow to Delhi
Twenty-nine people were killed when the bus in which they were travelling in skidded off the six-lane Yamuna Expressway near Delhi and fell 50 feet into a large drain. Seventeen people were injured.
The 165-km-long expressway connects Noida with Agra in Uttar Pradesh. The state government-run bus, carrying 46 people, was going from Lucknow to Delhi when the accident happened on a stretch of the expressway near Agra this morning, the police said.
"The bus was speeding and the driver may have dozed off," Agra District Magistrate Ravi Kumar told reporters.
In a video, a group of rescuers - their feet half buried in wet mud as they walked about the debris - are seen pulling out bodies from the twisted metal parts of the white bus, whose roof had been ripped off in the middle by the force of the impact after it smashed the safety railing and fell on the black waters of the large drain.
One Sleeper Coach passenger bus travelling from Lucknow to Delhi met with an accident on Yamuna Expressway. It fell into the side fall about 15 feet deep.— UP POLICE (@Uppolice) July 8, 2019
20 passengers rescued so far. Efforts are on for the rest.
The injured people have been taken to hospital, said the district magistrate. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath paid his condolences and asked the authorities to give all help to the injured and the families of those killed in the accident, the Chief Minister's Office in Lucknow said.
The Uttar Pradesh Roadways has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the families of those who died in the accident.
"Pained by the bus accident in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. I pray that those injured recover fast. The State Government and local administration are providing all possible assistance to the affected," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
Mr Adityanath has ordered a probe by a committee comprising the transport commissioner, the divisional commissioner and the inspector general (Agra range) to find out the exact cause of the accident. They will have to give a report within 24 hours. He also sought long-term recommendations to avoid such accidents.
"Saddened by the news of Yamuna Expressway bus accident. Have spoken to Yogi Adityanath. He has directed Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and Minister of State for Transport Swatantra Dev Singh to reach the site of accident. UP BJP General Secretary Pankaj Singh has also left for the spot. Express my condolences to the families of those who died and wish for speedy recovery of injured," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Road safety experts have long warned the dangers of speeding on the wide expressway, especially in early morning hours and night.
Accidents have also been rising on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway. Last week, the Uttar Pradesh government said drivers will have to pay a fine for speeding if they covered the 302 km-stretch from the Lucknow toll plaza to Agra in less than three hours.