At least 10 people were killed and 18 others were injured, when a private bus in which they were travelling plunged into a canal from a bridge on the Hyderabad-Khammam highway in Telangana in the early hours of Monday.
There were 31 passengers in the bus, which was travelling from Hyderabad to Kakinada. While seven of them died on the spot, three others succumbed to injuries at Khammam government hospital. Three other passengers have not yet been accounted for. All the passengers are said to be from East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.
According to Khammam superintendent of police Shah Nawaz Khan, the bus belonging to private operator Yatra Genie, started its journey from Hyderabad at 11.30 pm on Sunday.
The tragedy took place around 2.30 am when the driver slammed the brakes to avoid colliding with another vehicle coming from the opposite direction on a bridge over Nagarjunsagar project left canal at Nayankangudem village in Khammam district.
The driver lost control of the bus which rammed through the parapet wall of the bridge and plunged into the canal.
Other travellers on the highway quickly informed the police, who rushed to the spot and began rescue operations. Rescuers recovered seven bodies and shifted around 21 others to the Khammam hospital. Of them, three passengers succumbed to injuries. The condition of at least five passengers is said to be critical.
The death toll is likely to increase as a few other passengers are believed trapped inside the bus. The police called for a crane to retrieve the bus from the canal.
Collector DS Lokesh Kumar and other senior officials reached the spot to supervise the rescue operations.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock over the horrific accident. They instructed the officials to carry out the rescue operations and provide the best treatment to the injured.