CHITRADURGA: Five people were killed on the spot when a Bengaluru bound bus from Vijayapura caught fire at Kasturirangappanahalli village near Javanagondanahalli of Hiriyur taluk on Pune-Bengaluru national highway 48 on Wednesday.
The dead were identified as Sheela (33), Sparsha (8), Samrudha (5), Kavitha (29) and Nischitha (3). According to police, all victims were moving from Vijayapura to Bengaluru and the bus caught fire at 3: 45 AM. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
This is the third incident of a bus catching fire in Hiriyur taluk limits. The bus ferrying passengers regularly from Vijayapura set its journey at 9 PM and was supposed to reach Bengaluru at 6: 30 AM having 32 passengers on board. A passenger who survived the accident said that except for a small break at 11 PM, the bus was moving non-stop.
As the fire started near the engine, the driver of the bus along with the cleaner stopped the bus and jumped out. Basavaraj Kodihal a BMTC staff who was travelling back to Bengaluru for joining duty post-COVID-19 said that the thirst which occurred helped him to save a life.
"As I saw the fire engulfing the bus, I jumped out of the bus by breaking the glass and survived. I was also able to pull out the rear-seat occupant and saved him", he said.
Hearing the screams of fellow passengers, many jumped off the bus. Some of them suffered minor injuries in the process and are being treated at Hiriyur taluk hospital. Those who were in deep sleep and unable to come out of the bus died. Hiriyur rural police are investigating the incident. SP G Radhika visited the spot and took up rescue works.