The driver of an overcrowded state-run bus that had swerved off the road and plunged into a gorge in Telangana's Jagtial district, killing 58 people and injuring 28 others on Tuesday, was conferred the best driver award by the state government last month.
A Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC)official said the bus driver, Srinivas, was not only presented the best driver award last month, but was also earlier rewarded for best fuel efficiency, which indicated his impeccable driving skills.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of brake failure being the cause of accident.
The accident took place on the ghat section of the road near Shanivarapet village, around 200 km from Hyderabad.
According to the TSRTC's preliminary report, which was submitted to the state government, the accident occurred when the driver, who was also killed, either lost control while trying to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle or negotiating a sharp downhill curve, a corporation official said.
Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 58 Wednesday when a woman succumbed to her injuries during treatment. A police official said 27 people were still undergoing treatment in hospitals in Jagtial and Karimnagar districts and the condition of at least three is serious.
The deceased included 37 women and five children. Some of the victims were pilgrims returning to Jagtial
from the temple town of Kondagattu after offering prayers at the famous Hanuman temple.
(With inputs from PTI)