Two boys were charred to death and 40 people were critically injured in south Tamil Nadu after their bus caught fire when a live wire fell on it late Sunday evening.
According to Theni district police, the boys had pulled a tree branch when the bus was parked near a tea shop in Agamalai. The branch dislodged several palm fronds which in turn snapped a high tension wire, causing the tragedy.
Tamil TV channel Puthiya Thalamurai has identified the deceased as B Mukesh, 15, and Karthik Selvan, 18.
The bus had been chartered by a voluntary organisation as part of an annual summer programme tour of the district, situated on the border with Kerala.
All 65 on board were from the village of Achampaththu in Madurai district.
23 people managed to escape the bus before receiving any injures, police said, adding that the injured were currently recuperating at the Periyakulam government hospital. Several of the victims who had suffered severe burn injuries had been sent to the Theni district government hospital.
The bus had been partially damaged before locals managed to douse the flames.
Tamil Nadu state finance minister O Panneerselvam had arrived at Agamalai, and was overseeing medical operations