Bihar bus fire: Officials say no deaths in accident, police book owner and 2 others
Three persons have been booked in the bus accident in Bihar’s East Champaran district on Thursday even as authorities made it clear that nobody was killed in the mishap and that all on board have been accounted for.
Shortly after the luxury air-conditioned bus skid off the road and fell into a ditch and caught fire, state disaster management minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav had said there was apprehension of more than 20 people having been killed.
In a tweet a couple of hours later, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had said that the casualty figure might go up to 24 or more.
However, East Champaran district magistrate Raman Kumar on Friday said that no one died in the accident and that the 13 passengers, who had boarded the bus from its starting point Muzaffarpur, were undergoing treatment for injuries.
“All the 13 passengers have been identified. They have sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment,” the district magistrate said.
“Bus driver Vijendra Kumar and helper Ratan are missing. But detailed investigations have been conducted by forensic experts and personnel of the disaster management department at the site of the mishap and it is unlikely that either of them has died,” he added.
NDRF sub-commandant Krishnapad Barai said his team had completed its investigation and found no trace of human body in the bus as well as at the accident site.
He, however, did not rule out the possibility of burnt remains of human body, if any, being washed away during fire fighting by four fire tenders that were pressed into services to extinguish the flame.
Altogether, 32 persons had booked their seats on the bus. While 13 people boarded it at Muzaffarpur, the others were scheduled take the bus later at Gopalganj.
Inspector general of police, Muzaffarpur Zone, Sunil Kumar said survivors were identified on the basis of inputs provided by Saroj Singh, the booking agent of the bus operator, who was questioned on Friday by the police and later released.
Owner, Driver, Cleaner Booked
East Champaran superintendent of police (SP) Upendra Kumar Shrama said a case had been registered against the driver, cleaner and owner of the bus for negligence and reckless driving with the Kotwa police station. They were evading arrest, the SP said.
“Their details have been obtained and they are likely to be traced soon,” the district magistrate said.
The bus had skidded off NH-28 in Belwa village under Kotwa police station area. Locals claimed that the driver had taken a sharp turn on the highway while trying to avoid hitting a motorcycle after which the air-conditioned bus fell into the pit and burst into flames.
National Highway 28 connects Barauni in Bihar with Lucknow.