At least sixteen persons were burnt to death when two private luxury buses collided and caught fire near Mehkar on Nagpur-Aurangabad highway in Buldhana district, some 350 kms from here in western Vidarbha, on Monday morning.
According to reports, the crash took place around 3.30 am at Chinchole-Bore on the Mehkar-Sultanpur stretch of the highway when most passengers of both the buses were sleeping. The buses belonged to Nagpur-based Royal Travels and Saini Travels. One of them was coming from Nagpur and going to Pune while the other was going to Nagpur from Pune.
Both the buses caught fire after the collision and over a dozen passengers were burnt in their seats. Drivers of both the buses were killed on the spot, the reports said.
Bharat Kumar Suryawanshi, the in-charge of Mehkar police station, informed that as many as 57 passengers were injured and many of them were believed to be critical. They were rushed to Mehkar civil hospital and some private nursing homes. Few of them were shifted to government run medical college and hospital at Aurangabad.
Most of the passengers in both the buses were from Nagpur and Pune. The cause of the accident was not known immediately. When the news spread in the area, locals rushed to assist and helped to shift the injured in different hospitals.
Suryawanshi said that among the victims, only five were identified as: Namdeo Sakharam Bhalerao, Baby Namdeo Bhalerao, Tai Prahlad Bhalerao, Mangal Prahlad Bhalerao and Sabir Khan Wahid Khan. Most of the deceased have not yet been identified as the bodies were charred beyond recognition, he further said.