CHANDIGARH: Three passengers were burnt to death and 23 others received burns as a bus caught fire near the Rampura Phool railway crossing near Bathinda in Punjab this evening.
The air-conditioned bus which belonged to Raiya Transport Company was on its way from Bathinda to Ludhiana. After it caught fire, the bus kept moving for more than 300 m which caused the blaze to engulf the entire the bus before it stopped. The driver of the bus fled from the spot.
Four critically burnt passengers have been referred to a hospital in Ludhiana and two patients with grave burns were taken to the Bathinda Civil Hospital. The remaining 17 passengers were admitted at the civil hospital in Rampura Phool.
Sub-divisional magistrate Narinder Singh Dhaliwal said that as per initial reports the bus caught fire due to a mechanical fault in the engine. “We are yet to identify the deceased,’’ he said.
“Ten of the 23 injured passengers are in a serious condition,’’ said the senior superintendent of police of Bathinda, Naveen Singla.
Two fire tenders were pressed into service immediately after the fire incident was reported. The blaze was controlled in an hour.