LUCKNOW: Around two dozen persons were feared dead as a double-decker sleeper bus collided head on with a truck and both caught fire on GT Road at Chhabaramau area of Kannauj district late Friday night.
However, IG (Kanpur range) Mohit Agarwal confirmed only 10 deaths with 21 persons, who suffered injuries, rescued by local residents. Police said that the private bus was carrying passengers from Kannauj and Farrukhabad to Jaipur via Chhibramau.
As per local sources, 10 half burnt bodies were pulled out from the wreckage of the double-decker bus. However, police said that a number of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition after the fire swept through the bus following the accident. They added that 13 survivors have been taken to a hospital.
Officials said that rescuers could get inside the bus around 4 am after the bus' structure that was burning cooled down. According to Agarwal, the bodies were so badly burnt that their bones were scattered inside the bus. "Only a DNA test will determine the actual death toll," he said.
While the rescue operation were still on, the injured were rushed to the nearby district hospital in Kannauj and Farrukhabad where doctors attended to them. A team of officers from the district administration including Kannauj District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar and Police Superintendent AP Singh also reached the spot with two fire tenders being pressed into service. Efforts were on to contact the bus owner to know how many persons were travelling in the bus.
While PM Narendra Modi condoled the deaths of the passengers, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also extended his condolences and announced a relief of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of those who died in the accident and Rs 50,000 each for those grievously injured.
"It is very sad to know about the horrific road accident in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. Many people have lost their lives in this accident. I express my condolences to the relatives of the dead, as well as wish the injured well soon,” Yogi tweeted on Saturday morning. He also directed the district magistrate to probe into the matter and furnish a thorough report to the state government.
जनपद कन्नौज के भीषण एवं बेहद दर्दनाक हादसे में हुई लोगों की मृत्यु की खबर से मन आहत है।— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) January 11, 2020
प्रभु श्री राम से दिवंगत जनों की आत्मा की शांति के लिए प्रार्थना करता हूँ और दुर्घटना में घायल व्यक्तियों के शीघ्र स्वस्थ होने की कामना करता हूँ।
मेरी संवेदनाएं शोक संतप्त परिजनों के साथ हैं।
Survivors said that the private sleeper bus, run by Vimal Bus Service, was on the wrong side when it collided with a truck carrying plastic toys near Ghiloi village, around 60 km from the district headquarters. "As per initial reports, the fuel tank of the bus burst after the collision and hence, the fire spread through the structure," said state police chief OP Singh.
"The driver didn’t open the doors of the bus and hence, many people came out by breaking windows," said one of the surviors.
Circle Officer Chhibramau Shiv Kumar claimed that local residents reached the spot and rescued 21 persons from the bus. "The bus had just one door, so local residents broke open the windows to rescue passengers,” he said.
As per an estimate, the bus was carrying over 60 people and police said that 25 passengers had boarded the bus from Gursahaigunj in Farukhabad and some people got on from Chhibramau but their estimate was not clear. Seventeen people were killed on June 17 last year in Mainpuri after a bus operated by Vimal Service met with an accident.