Two dead in bus fire on Delhi-Jaipur Expressway were women, child still missing
Initially, police had identified the bodies, charred beyond recognition, as that of a 25-year-old woman, named Maya, and her six-year-old daughter
Police on Thursday clarified that one of the bodies pulled out from the wreckage of a sleeper bus, which caught fire on Delhi-Jaipur Expressway flyover near Jharsa on Wednesday night, was misidentified as that of a six-year-old child, but was in fact that of an adult woman, who was a month pregnant at the time of death.
Initially, police had identified the bodies, which were charred beyond recognition, as that of a 25-year-old woman, named Maya, and her six-year-old daughter, named Deepali. Another woman passenger, Gayatri, was deemed missing as she was not among the injured.
However, on Thursday investigators said while one body was that of Maya, the second body was that of an adult woman, which they now believe is Gayatri. The girl Deepali has been deemed missing, as no third body has been found as yet, they said.
Police said it was only after an X-ray examination was carried out during autopsy on Thursday evening that doctors realised that the second body was not that of a child, but of an adult woman. Since both bodies are charred beyond recognition, they were unable to ascertain which is which.
Dr Deepak Mathur, forensic specialist and mortuary in-charge, Gurugram Civil Hospital, said following the development, DNA samples of both bodies were preserved for further identification tests.
According to police, Maya was travelling with her three children, including Deepali, and husband Dinesh Aharwar (38). A second woman, Gayatri, was travelling with her husband Sushil Chandra (34) and two children.
Inspector Surender Singh, station house officer of Sector 40 police station, said earlier it was assumed that Gayatri was missing.
“Now it is clear that she was one of the two casualties, while the other is Maya. However, which body is of which woman could not be ascertained. And the minor child is missing. We have alerted all hospitals and nearby police stations to trace her,” he said.
Singh said investigation is on to ascertain the cause of fire, adding that an FIR against unidentified person(s) was registered under Section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code at Sector-40 police station on Thursday.
Dr Mathur said, “Only after DNA testing can the two bodies be positively identified as they are charred beyond recognition. Husbands were asked to provide us documents to ascertain their wives’ age so that identification could be done using X-ray examination. According to the X-ray examination, the pregnant woman was estimated to be 24 years old while the other was about 28 years old,” Mathur said.
But Aharwar and Chandra said they have nothing with them to give the police to determine the age of their wives.
“Everything, including our Aadhaar card, phone and other belongings, were burnt to ashes in the bus fire,” the two men said, while waiting together outside the mortuary in the hopes of identifying the bodies.
Aharwar said he has no clue where his daughter Deepali is. “I have reported her missing to the police. They are yet to come up with any reply. I have searched all three hospitals where the injured passengers were taken but could not find her. She was with my wife when the fire broke out,” he said.
Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer of Gurugram, said 32 of 45 passengers from the bus were brought to the Sector 10A Civil Hospital for treatment on Wednesday night.
“Of them, 13 had burn injuries while 19 had cuts and bruises that they sustained while escaping from the burning bus. Those with cuts and bruises were discharged by Thursday morning while 10 persons with burn injuries are still undergoing treatment,” Yadav said.
The CMO said among the gravely injured were a woman named Mithilesh, who has at least 50% burn injuries on her lower body, and her husband Rakesh Kumar with severe burn wounds to his face and upper body.
“They were shifted to the burns ward of Safdarjung hospital in Delhi for further treatment while another injured person was taken away by his family for treatment at a private hospital,” he said.