At least 18 labourers were killed and 17 others injured when a truck overturned in Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of Monday, police said.
The accident took place near Gundepalli in West Godavari district, around 400 km from Hyderabad.
The labourers who had boarded the truck, which was on its way from Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam with fly ash, were buried under the material.
Police and locals rescued 16 people and shifted them to Rajahmundry hospital. Eight of them are stated to be in critical condition.
Police said the driver was apparently drowsy and lost control of the vehicle, which led to the accident. The driver and the cleaner escaped after the accident but later surrendered before police.
The labourers, after finishing their work, boarded the truck near Eluru to return to their native villages. Most of them were in the age group of 35 to 45 years.
Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu visited the accident site. He announced compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the families of the deceased.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu expressed his shock over the accident. He directed the officials to ensure best possible treatment to the injured.
In deep anguish & saddened at the loss of lives in an accident at Gandepalli in East Godavari. My condolences to the family members. (1/2)â€” N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) September 14, 2015
I'm monitoring the situation constantly. Our ministers have reached accident spot and are updating me with information. (2/2)â€” N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) September 14, 2015