A KSRTC bus caught fire in the wee hours of Tuesday near Nelamangala, leading to the death of a woman.
Three others were injured including a minor. While one woman is critically injured, the other two sustained minor injuries, officials at the Nelamangala fire station said.
The bus was travelling from Shringeri to Bengaluru when the incident occurred.
The deceased has been identified as Bhagyamma, a 52-year-old Bengaluru resident, while 35-year-old Mamatha sustained 70% burn injuries and is undergoing treatment at Bengaluru’s Victoria Hospital.
Eight-year-old Yeshaswini and Dinesh, 35, escaped with minor injuries. They were treated at the Nelamangala government hospital and discharged by 9am, officials added.
“We received a call at 12.26 am and by 12.36, we were at the accident spot. The bus had stopped near Harshinakunte in Nelamangala. There were 26 passengers including the deceased and the injured, plus the driver and conductor. By the time the fire fighters got there, the passengers were evacuated,” an official at the fire station said.
“I don’t know who informed the driver and conductor that the bus was on fire. As soon as passengers found out, they started panicking. The bus was stopped and people were in a frenzy to get out. The passengers were all evacuated from the bus as soon as possible but the fire spread really quickly. I think one woman died and another had severe burns,” said Bhaskar Hiregange, a passerby who witnessed the passengers being evacuated.
“By the time we reached, the entire bus was on fire. It was extremely windy and hence the fire spread quickly. Bhagyamma died on the spot and Mamatha was transferred to Victoria Hospital as most of her body was burnt. Eyewitnesses told us that the bus was moving when it had caught fire and stopped after the driver was informed,” the fire official said.
A case of accidental death has been filed by the Nelamangala Police, who are still probing the cause of the fire.
A similar incident had occurred on November 14, 2013, where seven persons were charred to death and 40 others injured, six critically, when a Mumbai-bound bus from Bengaluru hit a road median and caught fire near Haveri.
The Volvo bus had 48 passengers, two drivers and a cleaner on board. The bus went up in flames within minutes, after it hit the divider and the diesel tank caught fire, but most passengers escaped by jumping out through the emergency exit.
At the time of writing, the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.