Bus falls off bridge killing 37 injuring 13

Sub heading: India: Bus crashes with a double-digit death toll are far from rare.

In India 32 people dead and another 13 injured after the vehicle careered off a bridge over a river in India’s western state of Maharashtra on Tuesday, police said.

“The bus was travelling from Goa to Mumbai when the driver suddenly lost control,” a police control room officer told AFP.

The Mumbai-bound luxury bus is reported to have been speeding when it plunged into the Jagbudi River in Ratnagiri

The bus accident happened in the Khed area of Ratnagiri district, around 350 kilometres (220 miles) south of the state capital Mumbai. A police official said the luxury bus was carrying more than 50 passengers. The vehicle is reported to have lost control while crossing the bridge. No other vehicle was involved, and the driver is among the injured.

Most of the injured, including the driver, sustained head and arm injuries and were undergoing treatment at a local hospital, said the officer. The scene shows a bus lying on its roof next to a bridge. The vehicle had landed on a dried-up patch of land next to low-lying water.

Media reports said there were some foreign tourists on the bus, but police confirm there was just one, a Russian passenger, on the bus, but no other foreign nationals.

National Crime Records show that more than 300 people per day were killed on roads in 2011. Bad roads, speeding vehicles and poor driving were among the contributing factors, and bus crashes with a double-digit death toll are far from rare.

Tuesday’s crash came a day after a senior official revealed that more than 800 people have died in accidents on the Mumbai-Goa highway in the last three years.

Maharashtra’s home minister R R Patil, in a written reply to a question, told the state legislature Monday that 828 people died and 2,411 were seriously injured between 2010 and the end of 2012, the Press Trust of India reported.

The World Health Organization’s global status report on road safety 2013 found that eight percent of India’s road user deaths were drivers or passengers of buses, while 32 percent were riders of motorbikes or three-wheelers.

The deceased have not been identified yet. Rescue operations are still on and the bus is being retrieved from the river, which has dried up almost, police said.

Debra Wattes