At least eight luxury bus passengers were burnt to death in a mishap near Hinganghat on Nagpur-Hyderabad national highway, some 100 kms from Nagpur in Wardha district in the wee hours on Saturday.
The dead included four women and two children while seven were injured in the incident.
According to reports, the mishap occurred when the luxury bus carrying a marriage party caught fire near Hinganghat on its way back to their native village, killing eight passengers on the spot.
Seven others, who were injured in the fire, were rushed to the government run civil hospital at Hinganghat, where the condition of three of them is reported to be serious.
The Hinganghat police control room informed that the cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained. "The bus possibly developed some technical snag and as the driver and the conductor were examining the engine, it was suddenly engulfed in flames, catching the travelers unawares. Both the bus driver and conductor fled from the scene after the incident," the police control room officials added.
The bus was coming from Nagpur after attending a marriage ceremony on Friday night. There were around 50 passengers in the bus and all were from Hinganghat.
The district administration has ordered an inquiry into the incident and a manhunt has been launched to track down the bus driver who fled the spot after the incident.
The victims were identified as: Chandrabhaga Maishkar (60), Malu Bhagat (55), Sunita Nagrale (32), Chandraprabha Meshram (62), Chetan Mankar (4), Pratik Dhoke (14), Dyaneshwar Humne (40) and Devanand Bhagat (36).