Hyderabad: In a ghastly tragedy, as many as 52 people were killed and more than 20 others injured when a state-run overcrowded bus fell into a gorge in Telangana's Jagtial district on Tuesday.
The bus belonging to the Telangana State Road Transport Corp (TSRTC) fell off Kondagattu Ghat Road while returning from Anjaneya Swamy temple atop Kondagattu Hills, about 190 km from Hyderabad.
The bus, carrying more than 70 passengers, met with the accident when the driver reportedly lost control at a speed breaker.
Finance Minister Etela Rajender told reports at Jagtial that 52 people were killed in the disaster. He said 47 bodies were brought to Jagtial Hospital while five people succumbed at a hospital in Karimnagar.
The dead include driver B. Srinivas. Officials said the victims include 26 women and 10 children. The toll could go up as the condition of some of the injured was stated to be critical.
The injured were shifted to a government hospital in Jagtial. A few critically injured were taken to hospitals in Karimnagar and Hyderabad.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed shock over the accident. He announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia each for the families of the dead.
Jagtial district Superintendent of Police Sindhu Sharma said the accident occurred around 11 a.m. when the bus was coming down from the hill and was to join the highway.
The driver apparently applied brakes at a speed breaker and the passengers who were standing fell onto one side, tilting the bus which then hurtled down after breaking an iron railing.
The victims belonged to Jagtial and Peddapalli districts.
Heart rending scenes were witnessed at the accident site as some of the injured lay amid bodies crying for help. Wailing relatives of the victims crowded Jagtial Hospital, where the medical staff struggled to deal with the large number of casualties.
Meanwhile, locals voiced their anger against the authorities over poor condition of the road and the alleged negligence of TSRTC.