Maharashtra bus fire: Mass cremation to be held of 24 bodies, 1 to be handed over to family


PTI, Jul 2, 2023, 12:20 PM IST

Mass cremation will be carried out of 24 out the 25 people charred to death after a private bus caught fire in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, an official said on Sunday.

The body of one of the victims will be handed over to the family for burial, he said. As most of the victims were charred beyond recognition after the bus caught fire in the early hours of Saturday, efforts were made to convince their families for mass cremation of the bodies instead of their DNA analysis, the official said.

The DNA testing is a lengthy procedure which may take days to ascertain the identity of the deceased, as per sources.

”Mass cremation will be conducted of 24 of the bodies today, and preparations for it are underway. Besides, the body of one of the deceased will be handed over to the family for burial,” Buldhana Collector H P Tummod told PTI.

The 25 passengers were charred to death as the private bus they were travelling in caught fire after hitting a divider on the Nagpur-Mumbai ‘Samruddhi Expressway’ in eastern Maharashtra’s Buldhana district at around 1.30 am on Saturday, police earlier said.

The deceased included 11 male and 14 female passengers. Ten of the victims were from Wardha, seven from Pune, four from Nagpur and two each from Yavatmal and Washim.

The family members of the 25 deceased have reached Buldhana, according to local administration.

Eight persons, including the driver and `cleaner’ (driver’s assistant), survived the horrific accident.

A case for negligent driving was registered against the bus driver on Saturday with police believing that, prima facie, he dozed off and lost control of the vehicle.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has ordered a probe into the accident and announced an ex-gratia assistance of Rs five lakh for the families of each deceased.

The sleeper coach bus of `Vidarbha Travels’ was on its way to Pune from Nagpur when it met with the accident at Pimpalkhuta village near Sindkhedraja, 130 km from Nagpur.

A report prepared by the Amaravati Regional Transport Office (RTO) said as per details provided by a survivor, the bus dashed into a steel pole on the right side, leading to the driver losing control. It then hit the divider.

After the front axle assembly got dislocated, the front portion of the bus hit the road and the resultant friction generated heat and fire (as engine oil temperature was also high since the bus was in on mode), the report said.

The vehicle then overturned on its left side, which blocked the passenger entrance-exit, and the loss of alignment of the vehicle due to the impact of the accident also made the emergency door inoperative, creating a virtual death trap for the passengers.

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