35 killed as bus catches fire in Uttar Pradesh (Lead)

December 9th, 2008 - 11:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Dec 9 (IANS) At least 35 people were burnt to death Tuesday when the bus they were travelling in went up in flames in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district, the police said.The accident occurred around 5 p.m. in Shikohabad area of Firozabad, about 300 km from here. The bus was going from Mathura to Sultanpur. The passengers were apparently returning after a pilgrimage and all hailed from Sultanpur, an official said.

“About 35 people have died in the accident and efforts are still on to bring the bodies out,” said District Magistrate Amit Gupta.

“According to initial information, witnesses said that the bus caught fire while it was running and overturned,” city police chief Navneet Kumar told IANS.

“Thirty-three passengers managed to escape and have received minor injuries,” Kumar added.

According to witnesses, there were around 70 people inside the bus and 15 were travelling on the hood of the vehicle.

The bus driver escaped unhurt, and has been held, an official said.

“The driver is being questioned about the cause of the accident. Witnesses noticed huge sparks from the rear side of the bus before it caught fire,” he said.

“The axle of the bus must have broken, causing the sparks that reached the diesel tank due to which it caught fire,” the official added.

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