At least 50 dead as bus plunges into valley in India

NEW DELHI • At least 50 people died when a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims plunged into a valley in India yesterday, one of the deadliest accidents on the country's notorious roads in recent years.

The bus carrying 80 people was returning from the famous Hindu temple of Kondagattu Anjaneya Swamy in the hilly southern state of Telangana when it skidded off the road. Other reports said 94 people were on board the bus.

Broken glass, slippers and luggage lay scattered next to lifeless bodies that were lined up at the scene, as locals pulled out survivors from the mangled vehicle. They then carried them uphill to get medical attention.

Some rescuers climbed onto the bus and others tried to reach the injured through the front portion, which was completely smashed.

"More than half of those killed were women, and there were at least three children," local official G. Narendhar told Agence France-Presse.

Many devotees had gone to the temple yesterday, considered an auspicious day for Hindus.

Broadcaster NDTV quoted witnesses as saying the driver was speeding and lost control of the vehicle. The Hindu daily said the vehicle careened off the road on a sharp corner. An investigation has been ordered.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet that he was "anguished by the loss of lives".

Rescuers trying to free people trapped in the bus that plunged into a valley in southern India yesterday.
Rescuers trying to free people trapped in the bus that plunged into a valley in southern India yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed shock and announced 500,000 rupees (S$9,500) each for the families of the dead victims.

Road crashes in India kill more than 150,000 people each year. Most accidents are blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2018, with the headline 'At least 50 dead as bus plunges into valley in India'. Print Edition | Subscribe