A packed passenger bus plunged off a bridge into Purna river in Navsari district of South Gujarat on Friday killing at least 37 people, an official said, in one of the deadliest road accidents in recent years.
“Thirty seven people have died in the incident, while 24 others are injured when a bus fell from a 20 feet high bridge on Purna river,” Navsari superintendent of police MS Bharada said.
Though police are investigating the cause of the mishap, some survivors and eye-witnesses said the bus driver lost control of the vehicle when it was passing the bridge and it hurtled down into the river after breaking iron railings.
The SP said the condition of four out of the 24 injured passengers was serious.
“The injured have been shifted to four hospitals in Navsari. We are also checking the possibility of shifting those who are seriously injured to hospitals in Surat if needed,” the officer said.
The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) bus was headed towards Ukai when the accident took place near the village, situated around 12 kms away from the district headquarters.
“We do not know the exact number of people travelling in the bus, but it is said that it was full (to capacity),” Bharada said.
He said the agencies like police, fire brigade, 108 ambulance services were engaged in rescue operation at the spot.
Expressing grief over the incident, chief minister Anandiben Patel twitted, “Deeply pained to learn about the unfortunate bus accident on Purna River Bridge in Navsari. My prayers are with victims & families”.
“I have directed Navsari collector & concerned officials to expedite rescue & relief ops and provide required help to victims & their kin,” she tweeted.