The death toll, after a Jaora-bound bus plunged into a rainwater-filled quarry in Ratlam on Friday, did not exceed on Saturday as rescue teams continued to search for more injured or dead victims at the site.
The mishap took place at around 10.30 am near Namli village, about 14 kilometres from district headquarters. The bus, belonging to one Mamta Bus Services, was carrying around 30 passengers. Seventeen injured people were admitted to the district hospital.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, additional superintendent of police Prashant Choubey said, “We have carried out an extensive search operation in the area with help from fire department officials of Indore. An NDRF team conducted a search operation at night. We repeated the search operation for two hours today morning to ensure that no one remains missing.”
Confusion persists regarding the cause of the accident, although a case has been registered against driver Amjad Mansoori, 35, resident of Ghoswa village and bus owner Mehunish Bee, resident of Jaora under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC.
Police are of the opinion that a technical snag in the steering wheel may have caused the accident but eyewitnesses say a front tyre burst just before the bus plunged into the quarry. Meanwhile, experts have examined the bus, its parts and ruled out any breakdown.
Regional transport officer Virendra Singh Yadav said the condition of the bus is good enough and that the department had issued a fitness certificate to the bus in March this year. Deputy director mining department Pawankumar Shilpi said the mine has remained closed since the last 12 years.
Police added that tyre marks few metres away from the accident spot imply that the driver must have applied brakes which failed and therefore overturned the bus.