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45 Burned Alive

45 Burned Alive
Highlights

45 Burned Alive, Bus Caught Fire in Mahabubnagar, Volvo Bus Incident In AP. In a horrific incident that happened during the early hours of Wednesday, a private luxury bus travelling from Bengaluru to Hyderabad burst into flames at Juverla village in Kothakota mandal in Mahbubnagar district.

Bus was coming from Bengaluru

• Bus caught fire after its diesel tank burst after it hit a culvert around 5.20 am

• Incident happened near Palem in Kottakota mandal in Mahabubnagar district

• Transport Minister Botcha Satyanarayana said 45 people were killed

• Bodies charred beyond recognition; DNA tests necessary for identity

• Besides bus driver and cleaner, only five passengers escaped

• No escape route as central locking system jammed

• Police suspect speeding caused the accident; there is no speed limit for Volvo

• The bus had a capacity for 44, but was carrying 51 people.

• Drunken driving, crackers on the board the bus also suspected

• Chief Minister orders a thorough investigation into the incident.

• Massive traffic jam on Hyderabad-Bangalore on either side of Kothakota

In a horrific incident that happened during the early hours of Wednesday, a private luxury bus travelling from Bengaluru to Hyderabad burst into flames at Juverla village in Kothakota mandal in Mahbubnagar district, about 130 km from here. Forty-five of the 51 passengers including a baby girl perished in the mishap and seven others suffered burns. They were fast asleep and most of them were going home for Diwali festival. The Volvo semi sleeper bus AP 02 PA 0963 registered with Diwakar Travels but operated by Jabbar Travels was engulfed in flames incinerating the passengers.

"The rear right side of the bus (having the diesel tank) hit the median of the road causing sparks. Within seconds the tank caught fire and burst even as flames spread all over the bus," they said. Priyanka, daughter of a Judge of a special court handling cases under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, also died in the incident. Five passengers, driver Feroze Pasha and cleaner Ayyaz, managed to escape with burn injuries and were undergoing treatment at different hospitals, another police officer said. The passengers could not escape as the main door of the bus was locked.

The flames started in the front and engulfed the bus. Shortage of oxygen and pungent fumes from the burning air-conditioners added to their woes. One passenger managed to escape from the inferno but collapsed and died next to the door. Though 108 Ambulance and police reached the place of incident immediately, there were hardly five survivors left, who jumped out of the bus. Police say that the driver and the attendant jumped from the driver’s window as soon as it caught fire.

The survivors were initially treated at Vanaparthi Hospital and were later shifted to Apollo Hospitals at Kanchanbagh. Of the five survivors Yogesh, a resident of Bangalore, is in critical condition and the remaining four are in ICU.

Doctors at Apollo say that the four should be in observation for 48 hours.

The survivors are in a state of shock. The bodies were charred beyond recognition and police are trying to identify the bodies by conducting DNA test. Clues and forensic teams rushed from Hyderabad to the spot. Preliminary investigation suggests that the bus had an automatic locking system which made it difficult for the passengers to escape. A team of doctors from Gandhi Hospital and Osmania General Hospital and forensic experts from Hyderabad rushed to the spot to conduct post-mortem of the bodies.

Police suspect that the driver was either overworked or were under influence of liquor. However, Imtiyaz, Manager with Jabbar Travels, asserted that the driver was experienced and was not over worked. The blood sample of the driver has been sent to a lab in Hyderabad to find out if it contained traces of alcohol. As the news broke out, worried relatives and media personnel thronged the office of the Jabbar Travels at Lakdi-Ka-Pul from 6am. But none from the travel agency turned up till 10am. Later at around 10.30am Jabbar Travels gave the list of 33 passengers who were travelling in the ill-fated bus. A driver with private travels told The Hans India that it is a usual practice with many buses that they take in passengers on the way iwhen the seats remain vacant. The un-accounted 16 could be the same.

Who owns the bus?

There was lot of confusion on whether the bus that was gutted belonged to Jabbar Travels or Diwakar Travels. The bus is registered in the name of Uma Reddy of Diwakar Travels. However officials and Diwakar Travels claim that they had sold the vehicle to Jabbar Travels and Jabbar had even taken an NoC from the AP Transport Department. But he had not registered it with the Karnataka transport department. Minister for Information D.K. Aruna reached the spot and supervised the rescue operations along with Collector Girija Sankar and SP Nagendra Kumar. The Minister for Transport, Botcha Satyanarayana who was in Visakhapatnam rushed to the place of accident. Botcha said that compensation will be given to relatives of the dead and a case will be booked against the travels. Union Minister for Tourism K Chiranjeevi and TDP leader Nara Lokesh also visited the place.

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