At least 12 passengers were killed and 21 others injured when a private bus going to Mumbai from Yavatmal collided with a truck on the Nashik-Aurangabad road at Hotel Mirchi Chauphuli on early Saturday morning and caught fire, authorities said.
All those who died were charred, making identification a major challenge, Municipal Commissioner Dr Chandrakant Pulkundwar said.
There were 40-45 passengers on the bus which was operated by Chintamani Travels. The truck was headed to Aurangabad from Dhule. Initially, 11 bodies were found in the bus. Another body was later discovered from under a seat.
The bus caught fire after the fuel tank took a hit by the speeding truck. The injured were being treated in civil and private hospitals, officials said. “Most of those killed were passengers of the bus - a sleeper coach. The injured have been shifted to the hospital for treatment,” said Amol Tambe, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Nashik. He said a case has been registered and an investigation is on to ascertain the exact cause of the fire. Videos showed a huge ball of fire engulfing the bus as the fire officials tried to douse the flames. Eyewitnesses said the accident took place at around 5.15 am after which they called the police and ambulance.
They said the fire was so intense that they could not do anything to save the passengers.