The bus, which was on its way from Hyderabad to Chirala in Prakasam district, was completely gutted in the fire.

A photo of the bus travelling from Hyderabad to Chirala that was gutted in the fire
news Transport Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 12:59

Passengers of a private bus had a narrow escape when the vehicle caught fire in Andhra Pradesh's Prakasam district early on Thursday, December 16.  The bus, which was on its way from Hyderabad to Chirala in Prakasam district, was completely gutted in the fire. Noticing the smoke, the bus driver applied brakes and alerted the passengers who were asleep. Some of them jumped from windows to save themselves.

The incident occurred near Timmarajupalem in Paruchuru mandal around 5.30 am. A fire tender rushed to the scene and doused the flame. Passengers lost all their belongings in the fire, which is suspected to have been caused by a short circuit. Police registered a case and took up investigation. The bus had left Hyderabad at 10.30 pm on Wednesday and was to reach its destination in another one hour when the fire broke out.

The driver said only nine passengers were in the bus as the majority of passengers had got down at Narasaraopet and other stops. Passengers complained that there was no fire extinguisher in the bus and the driver and cleaner had no knowledge of how to open the emergency exit.

"They didn't know how to activate the fire extinguisher and didn't even know if they had one. They didn't even know if they had an emergency exit door so that people could escape from the back as well. They put berths in the back, and couldn't even open it," a passenger alleged.

The fire accident occurred a day after a bus of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) plunged into a stream in West Godavari district, killing nine people. At least 12 other passengers, who suffered injuries in the accident, were admitted to the area hospital in Jangareddygudem while another seriously injured was shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital in Eluru.

Some of the passengers and the conductor crawled out of the bus windows even as the local people who rushed to the scene pulled them out to safety. Some passengers sustained minor wounds as the window glass splinters struck them when the bus plunged into the rivulet.

West Godavari district Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma told PTI over phone from Eluru that the bus was on its way to Jangareddygudem from Aswaraopet in neighbouring Telangana when the mishap occurred.

The APSRTC bus driver tried to manoeuvre his way to avoid a lorry coming in the opposite direction on a bridge across the Jalleru rivulet. The bus hit the bridge railing and fell into the rivulet, Rahul Dev said.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to those who lost their lives in the accident, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his condolences and announced an additional ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh.

Read: ‘Broke glass and crawled out’: Survivors of Andhra bus accident recount tragedy

With IANS and PTI inputs

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