In a ghastly tragedy, as many as 57 people died when an overcrowded state-run bus fell into a gorge in Telangana's Jagtial district on Tuesday, even as the state government suspended an official of the state road transport corporation and ordered an inquiry.
As many as 43 people were also injured in the accident.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corp (TSRTC) bus carrying 100 passengers fell off Kondagattu Ghat Road while returning from Anjaneya Swamy temple atop Kondagattu Hills, about 190 km from Hyderabad.
Overload and brake failure are suspected to be the cause of the accident. Transport Minister Mahender Reddy has ordered a probe into the tragedy.
The dead include 30 women and four children, officials said.
The injured are undergoing treatment in hospitals at Jagtial, Karimnagar and Hyderabad. The toll could further go up as the condition of some of the injured is stated to be critical.
The dead include driver B. Srinivas who apparently lost control when the bus approached a speed breaker.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed shock over the accident. He has announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia each for the families of the dead. TSRTC announced Rs. 3 lakh ex-gratia each.
The Transport Minister, who visited the accident site, also announced suspension of Jagtial TSRTC Depot Manager Hanumantha Rao.
Jagtial Superintendent of Police Sindhu Sharma said the accident occurred around 11 a.m when the bus was coming down from the hill and was to join the highway.
The victims belonged to Jagtial and Peddapalli districts.
Heart rending scenes were witnessed at the accident site as some of the injured lay amid bodies crying for help. Wailing relatives of the victims crowded Jagtial Hospital, where the medical staff struggled to deal with the large number of casualties.
Meanwhile, locals have voiced their anger against the authorities over poor condition of the road and the alleged negligence of TSRTC.
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