Nine people were killed including five women as an Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (RTC) bus fell off a bridge into a stream on Wednesday in the state's West Godavari district, officials said.
In the incident that happened at Jalleru village of Jangareddygudem block in the state's West Godavari district, the driver of a "Palle Velugu" bus, one which carries passengers to rural areas, lost control over the vehicle, and hit the railings of the bridge and fell into the stream.
The bus was reportedly travelling from Velerupadu to Jangareddygudem and should have reached its destination in another 10 minutes. The accident happened at around noon.
Y V Prasanna Lakshmi, the Jangareddygudem Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) said that according to preliminary information, there were at least 47 passengers on the bus.
She said, "The police, with the help of revenue staff and other locals, have recovered nine bodies, including five women and that of the driver, so far. Another 38 people, including children, were rescued".
However, she said that a few others may be trapped beneath the bus or washed away. "A search operation is on to find out whether there are any other passengers missing", she said.
She then added, "Efforts are being made to bring out the bus from the stream with the help of cranes. We have to check whether there are any others who might be buried under the bus".
Meanwhile, all the rescued passengers were shifted to the government hospital at Jangareddygudem.
The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the bus accident in West Godavari district. He offered his condolences over the accident and announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh each to the families of the deceased. He further instructed district officials to take all possible steps to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.
The state transport minister Perni Venkatramaiah also expressed shock over the incident and ordered a high-level probe by the district authorities into the causes of the accident.
The Andhra Pradesh governor Biswabhushan Harichandan and the leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu also expressed their grief over the accident and conveyed their condolences to the families of the deceased.