March 18, 2011 1:58:54 am
Eighteen people were killed and four grievously injured when a private bus fell into a river about 8 km from Malkapur in Buldana district on Thursday. The passengers,mostly pilgrims aged between 55 and 65 from different places in Vidarbha,were returning from a pilgrimage to various places in Maharashtra and Dwarka in Gujarat when their bus fell into Nalganga river after hitting the bridge parapet,around 3.30 am. The dead included nine women.
It seems the driver fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle, Buldana Superintendent of Police Lakhmi Gautam told The Indian Express. Most of the passengers were sleeping when the bus fell down into the river. One of them,Babanrao Ingle,came out after breaking the window pane and called out for help. Other vehicles passing by stopped and started rescuing the victims before the police could arrive at the spot.
Four persons are grievously injured and one of them is in ICU, the SP added. Of the 18,17 died on the spot,while one died at a Malkapur hospital. Driver Prashant Lehankar was among those killed. The bus,belonging to Lakshmi Travels of Chistur village in Wardha district,had set out on the journey on March 5 and was to return on March 18. They left Bharuch in Gujarat on Wednesday morning and the driver had been driving for over 13 hours. That may have caused weariness leading to the mishap, Gautam said.
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