Updated: February 17, 2021 4:03:50 am
Forty-seven people were killed while seven are still missing after an overcrowded bus, on its way to Satna district, skidded off the road and fell into a canal near Sarda Patan village in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district on Tuesday morning. Nearly 20 of those who died were students, who were scheduled to appear for a nursing examination in Satna, and their relatives, according to Sidhi Collector Ravindra Chowdhary.
The private bus, carrying close to 60 people despite a seating capacity of 35, was moving at high speed when it met with the accident around 7.45 am, according to eyewitnesses, and had taken an alternate route along the canal to travel to Satna due to heavy traffic on the main highway.
Among the deceased was Ram Sukhi Saket (43), who was accompanying his daughter Amarjyoti Saket (19) to her exam center and had taken the bus as they thought it would reach Satna within three hours, according to his cousin Ram Sundar. “We saw on television that the bus heading from Sidhi to Satna had fallen in the canal but thought it was some other bus as Ram Sukhi was to take a Sukheja bus. But after we sent our child to check at the bus stand, we realised that they were traveling in the Parihar bus,” said Ram Sundar. “They took this bus as it was the quickest. But now I have just cremated both of them,” he said trying to control his sobs.
Rewa Divisional Commissioner Rajesh Jain said a magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident.
PM @narendramodi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the bus accident in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 16, 2021
After a 12-hour operation, the district administration managed to recover 47 bodies from the canal, including that of two children. The operations were called off at around 7:30 pm due to poor light. “Search for them will start at 5 am tomorrow,” Collector Chowdhary said.
What came in handy was a team of 24 NDRF personnel who had come for mock training to Sidhi district on Saturday. Mithilesh Kumar, in-charge of the battalion said, “We reached around 10 am and began looking for any survivors but around seven people were already rescued by locals villagers… we removed bodies from the water.”