Eight travellers were killed and over 30 were injured when a luxury bus fell into a river bed near here Friday night, police said Saturday.
The accident took place around 8.00 p.m. when the driver of the bus, heading towards Ambajogai, lost control over the vehicle while crossing a bridge over Manjra river, 12 km from Latur. The speeding bus rammed the wall of the bridge and tumbled down nearly 30 feet after thrice hitting rocks on the way.
A group of about 20 journalists, who were in the city to attend a meeting of the state accreditation committee, and had assembled for a party at a farm house a stone's throw away from the accident site, immediately went to the accident spot to rescue the travellers.
The journalists, led by Praful Marpakwar and their host Latur municipal council chief Vyankat Bendre, informed the police and swung into relief and rescue operations.
The police and civic administration soon pressed a crane and then a couple of earth-movers into service, apart from rescue vehicles, and rushed the injured to the Latur Government Medical College Hospital.
While eight of the nearly 40 injured bus passengers died either on way to the hospital or soon after admission, seven more are stated to be in serious condition, Latur police control room officials told IANS Saturday.
Police and hospital sources said the toll would have been much higher had the bus plunged into the river water instead of falling on the bank.
Instant help rendered to the victims and a full-scale rescue operation launched at the accident spot and in the hospital was another factor mitigating the gravity of the tragedy, the sources said.