24 die, dozens hurt as bus falls off bridge in MP

Khargone (MP): The death toll has increased to 24 passengers – including three children – even as 39 sustained injuries on Tuesday when a speeding privately-owned bus heading for Indore veered out of control, smashed through a railing and plunged off a 40-foot-high bridge over the now-dry Borad river near Dongargaon in this district’s Un Police Station limits about 35 km from here.

President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders expressed grief over the loss of life. Mr Modi announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each and Rs 50,000 to every injured individual.

In the words of Collector Shivraj Singh Verma, “Fifteen of the victims perished on the spot. Approximately 50 were rushed to the district infirmary where three were pronounced dead and six succumbed during treatment. Eleven cases were referred to Indore. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each; Rs 50,000 to every grievously-injured person and Rs 25,000 to the other victims.”

Mr Kamal Patel, who is the minister in charge of the district, said that the 35-seater vehicle was overloaded.

“Regional Transport Officer Barkha Goud has been placed under suspension,” he added.

Furnishing further details, Sub-Divisional Officer (Police) Rakesh Mohan Shukla said, “Driver Sunil Rathor – who is severely hurt – dozed off at the wheel but a technical issue may also have occurred. Conductor Santosh Barchay is deceased. Villagers from Dongargaon and Lonara smashed windowpanes, brought out several victims and righted the overturned bus prior to arrival of law-enforcement authorities. Citizens rushed the injured to hospital using their own vehicles. The bus had commenced its fateful journey at 0630 hrs.”


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