A private bus plying towards Bengaluru caught fire on NH4 at Tumakuru in the early hours of Saturday injuring eight persons. A 24-year-old woman named Neelamma, who was coming back home to meet her husband in Bengaluru, has sustained 50% burn injuries.
According to the Tumakuru Rural Police, Neelamma was the only victim who suffered burn injuries. Seven others have sustained minor injuries and were treated at the Tumakuru district hospital.
"Neelamma had gone to visit her parents in Yadgir. Her husband is a KSRTC bus driver and lives in north Bengaluru. She was to meet her husband at the bus stop in the morning. Neelamma was the last to be evacuated from the bus," the Tumakuru Rural Police said.
At around 4.30am, the bus driver saw smoke coming out from the front of the bus. The driver immediately stopped the bus and with the help of the maintenance personnel, began evacuating the passengers.
"There was a short circuit in the bus' engine, which led to the fire. Our fire station received a call at 4.45pm and within minutes, we had dispatched a fire engine to rescue the passengers. By the time the fire engine reached the spot along with the ambulance, the driver and maintenance persons had evacuated most of the people," Tumakuru Fire Station officials said.
The Fire & Emergency Service personnel say that the passengers panicked and were trying to move out quickly from the sleeper bus. Neelamma was in the lower berth and was unable to get out fast, as people from the upper berths had jumped down and were pushing each other.
"Obviously the people panicked. The bus was fully on fire when the firefighters went in and rescued Neelamma," officials added. Neelamma was rushed to the Tumakuru District Hospital and later shifted to Bengaluru's MS Ramaiah Hospital, where she is currently undergoing treatment. Tumakuru district hospital officials say that Neelamma sustained 50% burns and is currently critical. The Tumakuru Rural Police have registered an accident case.