November 15, 2013 1:41:56 am
Seven people were charred and 43,including two African nationals,injured when a Mumbai-Bangalore Volvo bus operated by National Travels caught fire after an accident near Kunimullalli village in Haveri district,about 350 km from Bangalore,in the early hours of Thursday.
A Jabbar Travels Volvo had similarly gone up in flames on the Bangalore-Hyderabad route on October 30,killing 45 people.
Like in the accident a fortnight ago,the National Travels bus hit a bridge before bursting into flames around 2.30 am on Thursday.
Passengers who noticed a thick plume of smoke engulfing the unventilated main cabin of the bus soon after the accident helped break the glass windows with emergency equipment,preventing the casualties from mounting. Most passengers who died were in the front of the bus.
Six of the injured are critical,while the remaining,including the Africans,were discharged after treatment at the Haveri district hospital.
National Travels belongs to former Karnataka home and transport minister B Z Zamir Ahmed Khan,a JD(S) MLA. It announced Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the dead,while the Karnataka government will give Rs 1 lakh.
The bus crashed into a bridge. As a result,its fuel tank was damaged and it caught fire. Seven people,including three children,were charred, Haveri Superintendent of Police N Shashikumar said.
The main driver (Muzbeer) fled after he noticed the fire. The back-up driver (Nayaz),who was sleeping,was charred, said Haveri Deputy Commissioner of Police Panduranga B Naik. But for that of the back-up driver none of the bodies is identifiable. The spare driver was from Bangalore,while the six passengers were from Mumbai.
All bodies have been shifted to KIMS Hospital for DNA-testing.
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