Flames and smoke billow after a bus caught fire in Buldhana on July 1, 2023. Photo Credit: ANI
Some of the survivors of the ill-fated bus that caught fire and killed 25 passengers in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district on July 1 said that they managed to get out of the burning vehicle by breaking a window.
A private sleeper coach bus, which was traveling from Nagpur to Pune, met with an accident at Pimpalkhuta village near Sindkhedraja on the Samruddhi Expressway as it hit a road divider at around 1.30 am, 25 of the 33 passengers traveling in the bus sustained burn injuries . death, the police said. Eight others, including the bus driver and his cleaner, survived, he said.
He said that after hitting the divider, the bus overturned and fell on its right side, while the entry/exit door was facing the sky.
One of the survivors said, “A tire of the bus burst and the vehicle immediately caught fire. The fire spread within no time.”
“I and the passenger sitting next to me managed to escape by breaking the rear window,” he said.
The survivor told that after the accident, teams of police and fire brigade immediately reached the spot. Ayush Ghatge, another survivor said that it was a miracle that he survived the horrific accident. He said he boarded the bus at Butibori, an industrial suburb of Nagpur.
“I was on the last seat and was sleeping when the accident happened. I woke up when some people fell on me after the accident. I immediately stood up and started looking for a window to come out. Three of us came out helping each other,” Mr Ghatge said.
Relatives of Avani Pohnekar, who was killed in the accident, told a TV channel that she was an IT engineer and was on her way to Pune to look for job opportunities.
“She was going from Wardha to Pune. We later learned that Avni was one of the 14 passengers who boarded the bus from Wardha,” he added.
A local resident said that four to five passengers managed to escape by breaking a window of the bus. “But not everyone can do that,” he said. Those who could later come out of the bus told us that they sought help from other vehicles on the highway, but none stopped, he said.
A local resident said, “Many accidents happen on this highway in Pimpalkhuta. We were called for help and when we went there, we saw a terrible situation. The tires were split.”
He said, “People inside were trying to break windows. We saw people being burnt alive. The fire was so severe that we could not do anything. We were crying…” He added that if vehicles passing through the highway Had he stopped to help, more lives could have been saved.
Harshad Pathe, elder brother of 23-year-old Nikhil Pathe, the deceased passenger from Yavatmal’s Gondadi village, told the media that he had dropped his brother at the boarding point of Vidarbha Travels on the night of June 29. He said, “My brother was going to Pune to find a job. But this turned out to be his last journey.”