Eight people were killed and 30 others were injured after a bus overturned and rolled down a hilly road in Odisha's Ganjam district early today.
The private bus, which was on its way to Berhampur from Tikiri in Rayagada district, overturned and fell at least 30 feet below the road near Taptapani, Ganjam District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said.
The exact number of casualties will be clear after the vehicle is pulled out, the collector added.
The injured have been taken to Digapahandi Hospital and MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur Hospital. Some of them are said to be in a serious condition, the police said.
Four teams of fire services personnel, armed with gas cutters and other equipment, are carrying out rescue operations.
A heavy crane is being engaged to lift the badly mangled bus, a senior fire service official said. "Four fire fighting teams from Mohana, Sanakhemundi, Digapahandi and Berhampur are carrying out the rescue operation. The injured have been rescued and sent to hospital," Chief Fire Officer Sukanta Sethi said.
The operation was initially affected as the accident took place in a mountainous terrain.
State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said the mishap appears to have taken place due to poor visibility caused by dense fog.
The exact cause will be ascertained after a detailed inquiry, he said.
A special team will conduct a probe to ascertain whether the vehicle followed standard procedures for travelling in foggy condition, he said.
"At the moment, our priority is to ensure proper treatment of those injured in the accident", the minister said.