MADHUBANI: At least 27 passengers were killed when a private bus fell into a roadside pond in Bihar's Madhubani district today.
"A total of 27 persons were killed in the bus accident. All the bodies have been fished out from the pond," Madhubani District Magistrate Giriwar Dayal Singh said.
Many of the passengers, who had boarded the bus, swam to safety or might have jumped out of the bus to save themselves, the DM said.
The accident took place at Basaitha chowk under Bennipatti police station in Madhubani district, about 50 km from the district headquarters.
The private bus, carrying about 65 passengers, was on its way to Sitamarhi from Madhubani when the mishap took place on the state highway.
The bus was pulled out of the pond with the help of a crane.
In Patna, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed deep sorrow and said in a statement that reason of the accident was being looked into. He instructed officials to speed up relief and rescue operation.
Kumar instructed Revenue minister Madan Mohan Jha and Panchayati Raj minister Kapildeo Kamat to rush to the accident spot.
Superintendent of police Deepak Kumar Barnwal and other policemen, who received stiff resistance from the villagers who were angry over delay in reaching of crane and pelted stones at them, managed to reach the spot after additional force came in.
A team of SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) has reached the mishap site. The CM issued instruction to provide assistance to the victims. Besides, Kumar also directed for payment of ex-gratia to the family members of those killed in the incident.
Apart from DM and SP, Darbhanga Divisional Commissioner R K Khandelwal, Darbhanga Inspector General Umashankar Sudhanshu and other senior police and civil officials of Madhubani and Sitamarhi were camping at the spot along with Benipatti MLA Bhavna Jha.