At least 37 killed after a bus fell off a bridge into a canal on Tuesday morning at Sidhi district in Madhya Pradesh, about 560 km from the state capital Bhopal.
More than 50 passengers were on board the bus when the driver lost control of the vehicle at around 7:30 AM. “We have found 37 bodies and they have been sent for autopsy,” district police superintendent Dharamveer Singh was quoted as saying by news agency AFP. Sixteen women, one child and 20 men were killed in the accident.
A team of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), along with other officials concerned, began the rescue operations in the morning, which spanned for more than five hours, reported NDTV. Doctors and ambulances were also rushed to the site, the report said.
According to report, the bus accident in MP’s Sidhi is horrific. Condolences to the bereaved families. The local administration is actively involved in rescue and relief work,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office had tweeted earlier; the centre announced a relief of Rs. 2 lakh for the families of those who’ve died.
“What has happened is extremely tragic. Families of those who have died will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. The entire state is standing with those affected,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a video message.
The state government cancelled a key event in view of the accident, which was to be virtually attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Home Minister was scheduled to attend the event at 11 am for the beneficiaries of over one lakh houses constructed in Madhya Pradesh under the centre’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
“Brothers and sisters, today we were very excited to hold this event for 1 lakh beneficiaries. But we got the tragic news of the Sidhi bus accident. Rescue operations are on. Please pray for the safety of the passengers. We are postponing the event. We will hold it on another day,” Mr Chouhan said, adding that he is “continuously monitoring the situation”.
The private bus – going from Sidhi to Satna – fell into the Sharda canal.
Eye witnesses said that the bus drowned completely into the water, news agency PTI reported.
Later, the district administration stopped the release of water into the canal from the Banganga project, which sped up the rescue operations. Two cranes pulled out the bus from the canal.