27 killed as bus overturns, catches fire in Motihari

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They also tried to douse the flames by throwing sand and soil, but in vain. It turned turtle and caught fire on National High No. 28 near Belwa village under Kotwa police station area of Motihari district of Bihar.

The death of seven people was caused due to physical injuries, burn wounds and asphyxiation as the bus caught fire immediately after falling into a pit some three metres below the highway, said sources.

The bus was heading towards Delhi from Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

The locals are now helping the passengers trapped in the bus and the Motihari district administration officials have also rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.

Several reports earlier said more than 20 people were feared killed in the accident.

"The injured have been rushed to the local hospital for treatment".

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Speaking to NDTV, state's Disaster Management and Relief Minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav said that the AC bus lost control while trying to avoid collision with a motorcyclist coming from the opposite direction.

"A probe has been ordered".

The Bihar government announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh for the next of kin of each victim. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar mourned the tragedy while addressing a function organised by the state transport department in Patna by observing one-minute silence. An exact number of casualties was not available amid the speculations that more passengers were on board.

Total 32 people had booked tickets in the bus.

Nitish Kumar often said he, along with a team of officials, would have a meeting with the Prime Minister and the outcome would be a big boost to the development of Bihar.