"Charred bodies of 45 persons have been retrieved from the bus," Deputy Inspector General (Hyderabad Range) V Naveen Chand said.

Andhra CM orders probe

The accident occurred at 5.10 am when the diesel tank of the Hyderabad-bound bus from Bangalore hit against a culvert near Palem in Mahabubnagar, around 140 kms from Hyderabad on NH-44 (Bangalore-Hyderabad), police said, adding the entire bus was engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes.

PM expresses grief over loss of lives

Fifty-two persons, including 50 passengers, were travelling in the Volvo bus when the mishap occurred. Initial reports had said that some software engineers were among the victims.

The bodies have been burnt beyond recognition and it is difficult to ascertain how many of the dead are men or women, Chand said.

Five passengers, the driver Feroze Khan and cleaner Ayyaz, managed to escape with burn injuries and were undergoing treatment at different hospitals, another police officer said.

Mahabubnagar District Collector Girija Shankar and District SP D Nagendra Kumar, who were supervising the rescue operation said, "The identification of the deceased will be determined after conducting DNA tests and collecting blood samples of the relatives.

"The mortal remains will be handed over the kin of the deceased after the DNA tests," the Collector said. A team of doctors from Gandhi Hospital and Osmania General Hospital and forensic experts from Hyderabad rushed to the spot to conduct post-mortem of the bodies. The bus started from Bangalore at 11 pm on Tuesday night.

"It seems the bus was travelling at a high speed when its fuel tank hit the roadside culvert and caught fire and got burst. The passengers in the bus were burnt beyond recognition. The entire bus has been gutted," Wanaparthy DSP Srinivas Reddy said.

Police said that they had collected the list of passengers from the private bus operators and found that the online booking list had names of 33 bus-passengers and other travelers may have boarded the bus later.


Latest News from India News Desk