At least 32 pilgrims from Hyderabad were killed and over 20 injured when their private passenger bus to Shirdi fell off a river bridge in Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district on Saturday morning. Osmanabad town is around 450 km from Mumbai.
The victims were on their way to Shirdi Saibaba Temple in Ahmednagar District, when the mishap occurred. The bus, owned by Sree Kaveshwari Travels, was on a journey to Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra when the tragedy occurred around 2.30 am on Saturday, Osmanabad police said. According to eyewitnesses, the bus overturned four-five times and caught fire before plunging around 30 feet below the bridge.
All the injured have been admitted to Government hospitals in Osmanabad and Solapur. A majority of the injured were critical and the casualty figures could increase.
The accident occurred near Jakot village, around 40 km from Osmanabad, on the Hyderabad-Solapur highway as the bus was proceeding to Shirdi, the abode of the revered saint, Shri Saibaba.
Some survivors told mediapersons that the driver of the vehicle was inebriated and speeding, but a police official said that the exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained.
The accident spot was about 260 kilometres from Hyderabad. The State government has sent three officials to Osmanabad to coordinate with the local officials there for medical treatment of the injured and rescue operations.
Meanwhile, Sree Kaleshwari travel agency is arranging a bus from its office at Lakdikapool in Hyderabad to the accident spot.
The agency executives said relatives of the passengers can board the bus to reach the accident spot. “The bus will go till Solapur so that the relatives can attend on the injured passengers undergoing treatment at Solapur hospital,” they said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has expressed grief over the incident and has directed state Chief Secretary Pankaj Dwivedi to help those injured.
Ambulances are being sent to shift the bodies to Hyderabad after post-mortem. The Maharashtra government has set up two help-lines for enquiries: 02472 222900, 02472 222700