52 pilgrims killed in Telangana bus accident, police suspect brake failure
The bus with around 60 passengers on board was returning from Anjaneya Swamy temple in Telangana’s Kondagattu.
Fifty-two people were killed and several were injured after a state-owned Road Transport Corporation bus carrying pilgrims from a temple in the hills of Telangana’s Jagtiyal district plunged off a road into a 30-foot gorge on Tuesday morning.
According to police, the pilgrims were on their way back from a Hanuman temple atop Kondagattu hill. The bus was travelling from Sanivarampet village to Jagitial via Kondagattu pilgrim centre when the accident took place around 11:30am.
Police suspect failure of brakes led to the accident. The driver, who also died in the accident, reportedly lost control as he tried to avoid another bus on the route. “Most of the deaths seem to have occurred due to suffocation, as the passengers fell over one another,” police said.
Authorities recovered bodies of five children, 32 females and 15 males before calling off the rescue operation. The injured were shifted to Jagitial government hospital. The toll could go up as the condition of some of the injured was stated to be critical.
Telangana finance minister Etela Rajender told media that the bus was packed beyond capacity with 88 passengers.
While locals were quick to step in for rescue and relief, Jagitial collector Sharath and other top officials also rushed to the accident spot along with the rescue teams.
Chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao expressed shock and offered his condolences. He announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to each of the families of the deceased, and directed officials to provide immediate medical assistance to the injured.
President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed their grief. “Shocked to learn about the bus accident in Jagtial, Telangana. Thoughts with the bereaved familes and those injured. I understand local authorities are making efforts to rescue and help passengers who have suffered,” the President tweeted.
“The bus accident in Telangana’s Jagtial district is shocking beyond words. Anguished by the loss of lives. My thoughts and solidarity with the bereaved families. I pray that the injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister said on Twitter.