The pilgrims' group, which was returning from a visit to Tirupati temple, met with tragedy in the early hours as the vehicle they were travelling in fell off a bridge at Dowleswaram near Rajahmundry.

"Loss of lives due to a bus accident in East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh is saddening and unfortunate. My deepest condolences," the Prime Minister said.

Among the deceased are seven children, eight women and seven men, including the driver of the vehicle, who was also its owner, he added. The pilgrims hailed from Achyutapuram near Visakhapatnam.

A boy, who sustained injuries, is the lone survivor of the mishap. He is undergoing treatment at a hospital. As per preliminary information, the driver of the vehicle appeared to have lost control and it crashed through the railing of the bridge.

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