Maharashtra: 25 passengers charred to death after bus catches fire on Samruddhi Expressway


At least 25 people, including three children, were killed and eight others injured when the bus they were travelling in caught fire on an expressway in Maharashtra early this morning.

About 33 people were in the bus which was on its way to Pune, officials said, adding that the accident occurred at around 1.30 am on the Samruddhi-Mahamarg Expressway.

Police said the bus overturned after hitting a pole on the expressway and caught fire in Buldhana district. “The driver of the bus, who survived the incident, said that the bus hit the pole after a tyre burst,” they said.

Police said most of the passengers were sleeping at the time of the accident. The bus overturned on the side of the doors, blocking it, because of which nobody could get out, they said.

“25 people were burnt to death in the accident. The injured have been shifted to a hospital for treatment, said, Sunil Kadasane, Superintendent of Police, Buldhana.

He said a case has been registered and investigation is on. “The priority at this moment is to identify the bodies and hand them over to their family members,” said Mr Kadasane.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of lives

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also expressed his anguish over the accident and announced a compensation of ₹ 5 lakh each for families of those who have died.

“While giving instructions to provide immediate help to the accident victims, the Chief Minister also directed to provide immediate medical treatment to the injured at government expense,” his office said.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the bodies were charred beyond recognition and if the identity of the victims is not established, then DNA testing will be conducted.

He said a smart system is being installed on the Samruddhi Expressway to prevent accidents. “The system will check the speed of vehicles and alert them. But it will take some time. Till then, we will have to create awareness among drivers at the toll booths on what precautions need to be taken to prevent accidents at night,” he said.