Twenty-nine people were killed and 18 injured after a Lucknow-Delhi state-run bus skidded off the Yamuna Expressway and fell into a large drain in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Monday, officials said.
The accident occurred around 4:30 am in Etmadpur, around 200 km from the national capital, they said.
The operation to pull out the mangled remains of the bus from the bottom of the 20-foot-high bridge took several hours, with two excavators and a crane being deployed for the salvage exercise.
The injured have been admitted to different hospitals, including a private health facility, in the district, the officials said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has formed a committee to probe the reasons behind the accident and directed it to submit a report, Additional Chief Secretary Information, Awanish Awasthi, said.
“As per the district magistrate (of Agra) 29 persons have died. The bus fell into a ‘nallah’ (drain),” he said
The Uttar Pradesh Roadways will pay ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, the officials said.
“One sleeper coach passenger bus travelling from Lucknow to Delhi met with an accident on Yamuna Expressway (sic),” the Uttar Pradesh Police said on Twitter.
The Janrath bus of the Uttar Pradesh Roadways’ Awadh Depot was going from Lucknow to the national capital’s Anand Vihar ISBT, the officials said. The 165-km six-lane expressway connects Noida with Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
The chief minister expressed his condolences and has directed the Agra district magistrate and senior superintendent of police to ensure the injured get proper medical treatment, the officials said.
He has asked his deputy Dinesh Sharma and Minister of State for Transport Swatantra Dev Singh to immediately visit the accident site.
The committee, comprising the transport commissioner, divisional commissioner and an inspector general of police, will investigate the incident in 24 hours, the chief minister has directed.
It will give a report on the cause of the accident and also suggest long-term measures to avoid such mishaps, Awasthi said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted that BJP state general secretary Pankaj Singh has gone to the spot.
“I convey my condolences and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured. I have spoken to CM Yogi Adityanath about it. He has sent Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma and Transport Minister Swatantra Dev Singh to the spot,” he said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled the death of the 29 passengers. “Saddened to hear about the tragic loss of lives because of another bus accident, this time near Agra. My heartfelt condolences to the grieving families. I wish the injured a speedy recovery. Let us all follow #SafeDriveSaveLife” she tweeted.