Mumbai, At least 25 people were killed and eight others injured in western India when a bus crashed and caught fire on an expressway early Saturday.
The bus was travelling to the city of Pune when it hit a pole and overturned after midnight, causing its diesel tank to catch fire, senior police officer Baburao Mahamuni told AFP.
“There were about 30 to 35 people in the bus. Twenty-five people have died and eight others are injured,” he said.
The injured have been admitted to a hospital near the site of the crash in Maharashtra state, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of India’s financial capital Mumbai.
The driver and conductor of the bus was taken into custody for questioning, state rural development minister Girish Mahajan told reporters.
“The driver is saying the tyre of the bus burst, after which it hit a pole. But it seems he had dozed off; we will have to see what actually happened,” he said.
Mahajan added that the bodies had been charred beyond recognition and forensic teams were on their way to help in identification.
One of the survivors of the accident said he got out of the burning vehicle via a window.
“The passenger seated next to me and I managed to escape by breaking the rear window,” he told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
“But not everyone could do it.”
A witness to the crash told PTI he unsuccessfully tried to help rescue passengers stuck inside the burning bus.
“We saw people getting burnt alive,” he said. “The fire was so intense that we could not do anything.”