At least nine people died and 14 were injured after a state-run bus rammed into a stationary lorry near Tiruchirappalli late on Tuesday night, police said.
The bus from Chennai to Nagercoil rammed into the stationary lorry at Samayapuram, killing at least nine bus passengers on the spot, police said.
Those injured have been taken to a hospital and some of them are in a serious condition, police added.
Rescue teams -- including district administration officials -- were engaged in rescuing those trapped in the bus, police said, adding the driver of the lorry was absconding after the incident.
The lorry was parked on the busy highway and it supposedly did not have tail lamps switched on.
Minister for health and family welfare Vijaya Baskar visited the hospital.