• Tragedy The triple train accident in India already leaves almost 300 dead

At least 25 people were killed and eight others injured in India after a bus caught fire Saturday on a highway in the western state of Maharashtra, police said. Three children were among the dead, a police official said.

The bus was on its way to the city of Pune when it hit a pole and overturned. The hit caused its fuel tank to catch fire, police chief Baburao Mahamuni said.


There were 30 to 35 people on the bus. 25 people were killed and eight are injured," Mahamuni told AFP.

The injured, including the driver, were sent to a hospital near the crash site, which took place about 400 kilometers east of India's financial capital, Mumbai. Police opened an investigation.

"The priority at the moment is to identify the bodies and return them to their families," Superintendent Sunil Kadasane was quoted as saying by local media.

Media footage of the scene shows the bus engulfed in flames and later the charred remains of the vehicle on the highway.

'Deeply saddened'

"Deeply saddened by the bus accident," Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter. "My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives. I hope the injured recover quickly," he added.

Maharashtra state chief minister Eknath Shinde also expressed his condolences and promised compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,100) to the families of the victims.

Fatal accidents are common on India's vast road network, which are dangerous and poorly maintained. The main causes are excessive speed or not wearing a helmet or seat belt.

A World Bank report in 2021 pointed out that India accumulates 11% of traffic deaths in the world, despite having only 1% of the vehicle fleet. The same report estimated that every year there are 150,000 deaths on the road in India, which is one person every four minutes.

In addition, this study indicated that road accidents cost the Indian economy about 75,000 million dollars each year, as medical expenses and loss of income drag many people into poverty.

In May, at least 21 people died on a bus that derailed from a bridge in India, an accident speculated to have occurred because the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

In October last year, at least 31 people were killed when a bus carrying wedding guests went off the road and fell off a cliff.

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