Seventeen people were killed and 26 others injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck transporting gas cylinders in Jharkhand’s Pakur district on Wednesday morning, police said.
The accident happened around 8.30 am on the Govindpur-Sahibganj state highway at Paderkola village in Amrapara police station area, they said.
The bus with around 40 passengers on board was heading to Jasidih in Deoghar district from Barharwa in Sahibganj.
Several people trapped inside the bus are being brought out after dismantling the vehicle with gas-cutters, police said.
Heavy fog in the area could be the reason behind the accident, they said, adding, none of the gas cylinders on the truck exploded.
The toll could rise, a police officer said.
The district administration has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 1 lakh each for the kith and kin of those killed in the accident.
“The death toll in the accident has increased to 17, while the number of injured is 26. At least three of them are critical,” Civil Surgeon of Pakur R D Paswan told PTI.
One of the critical patients has been referred to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi and the process to shift the others is underway, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ajit Kumar Vimal said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each would be given to the next of kin of those who died, and Rs 50,000 to those injured.
“I am anguished by the bus accident in Pakur, Jharkhand. In this sad hour, condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon.
“An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in an accident in Pakur. The injured would be given Rs 50,000,” Modi tweeted.
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed grief over the accident and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
“The news of the death of many people in a road accident on Littipada-Amdapara road in Pakur, Jharkhand is very sad. I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this accident, and wish the injured a speedy recovery,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a tweet.
Officials said 15 of the 16 killed have been identified. Five were residents of Sahibganj, three each of Dumka and Pakur and one of West Bengal.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren condoled the deaths and directed the district administration to ensure proper treatment of the injured persons.
“May God give peace to the departed souls and give strength to the bereaved families to bear the loss. Appropriate instructions have been given to the district administration to provide proper treatment to the injured,” he said.