At least 15 people died and more than 25 injured in a mishap involving a passenger bus and a truck late on Friday night in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, confirmed a local police official to Xinhua over phone.
The passengers died due to burn injuries after the bus caught fire following the head-on collision with the truck coming from the opposite direction.
The passenger bus, carrying around 50 people, was going from Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj district to Jaipur, the capital city of western state of Rajasthan. Prima facie it seems that the accident occurred due to negligence and rash driving of the truck driver as he was driving the vehicle in the wrong direction.
Immediately after the collision, both the vehicles caught fire and eyewitnesses reportedly heard more than two blasts even as the fuel-tank of the bus caught fire. The fire spread so quickly through the bus that the passengers, most of whom were sleeping, could not get time to escape, though a few of them managed to jump out after breaking window-panes.
Media reports quoted senior cop Mohit Aggarwal as saying that there were more than 45 people onboard the passenger bus, out of which 25 were rescued and admitted in different hospitals for medical treatment.
He told local media persons "18-20 passengers are still missing and they are feared to be charred to death beyond recognition."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed shock at the road accident. "I am deeply saddened at the road mishap in Kannauj district of Uttar Pradesh. Many people have died in this accident. I express my condolences to the families of those who died, and wish fast recovery of the injured," tweeted Modi.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a financial compensation of 200,000 Indian Rupees (around 2,900 U.S. dollars) to the families of the deceased and 50,000 Indian Rupees (around 720 U.S. dollars) for those injured in the accident.