At least 12 pilgrims from Jharkhand were killed and 13 others injured when a truck hit a stranded bus on Durgapur Expressway at Chanditala in Hooghly district early on Wednesday police said.
The pilgrims, coming from Deoghar and on their way to the Shiva temple in Tarakeswar, got down from the bus as it broke down near Kapapharia and were loitering nearby when the truck mowed them down and hit the stranded bus.
While 11 of them died on the spot, another succumbed to injury at the hospital. The victims included an eight year old boy.
Locals and police rescued the 13 injured and sent them to Srirampur Walsh, Uttarpara State General and Calcutta Medical College hospitals.
Movement of traffic along the busy highway resumed later.
The devotees, on a pilgrimage to visit important Shiva temples in the month of 'shravana', had planned to visit some places in Kolkata as well, one of the injured said.