Nine people, including five women, were killed when a state-run road transport corporation (RTC) bus fell off a bridge into a stream in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district on Wednesday, officials said.
The incident happened at Jalleru village of Jangareddygudem block in West Godavari district, when the driver of “Palle Velugu” bus (which carries passengers to rural areas) lost control over the vehicle, and hit the railing of the bridge. The bus then toppled into the stream.
The bus, which was travelling from Velerupadu to Jangareddygudem, was expected to reach its destination in another 10 minutes, when the accident took place around noon.
Jangareddygudem Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Y V Prasanna Lakshmi said according to preliminary information, there were at least 47 passengers in the bus. “The police, with the help of revenue staff and other locals, have recovered nine bodies, including five women and that of the driver, so far. Another 38 people, including children, were rescued,” she said.
Lakshmi, however, did not rule out the possibility that a few others may be trapped beneath the bus or washed away. “A search operation is on to find out whether there are any other passengers missing. Efforts are being made to bring out the bus from the stream with the help of cranes. We have to check whether there are any others who might be buried under the bus,” the RDO said.
All the rescued passengers, some of whom received serious injuries, were shifted to the government hospital at Jangareddygudem, she added.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the bus accident in West Godavari district. Offering condolences to the bereaved families, he announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh to each of the families of the deceased. He asked the district officials to take all possible steps to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.
State transport minister Perni Venkatramaiah also expressed shock over the incident and ordered a high-level probe by the district authorities into the causes of the accident.
Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan and leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu also expressed their grief over the bus accident and conveyed their condolences to the kin of the deceased.