As many as 29 persons were dead and more than a dozen injured after a double-decker bus, carrying over 40 passengers, plunged into a gorge at Jharna Nala near Yamuna Expressway in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The incident took place at about 4:30 am on Monday morning. The deceased include a 15-year-old girl and a child.
The Awadh Depot bus of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Roadways, which was on its way to Noida from Noakhali, first hit the railing of the expressway and then went straight into the gorge, which the police attributed to the driver being sleep-deprived.
Soon after the mishap, the injured have been rushed to the nearby government hospital and are undergoing treatment. A search operation is also underway to rescue the survivors and the bodies of the deceased. Divers and excavators have been brought in for the operation. It was Chowki in-charge Anirudh, who first reached the spot and started retrieving the injured passengers with the help of others. Agra District Magistrate (DM) Ravi Kumar NG and Aligarh SSP Bablu Kumar are currently present at the spot and taking stock of the situation.
Speaking to the reporters, Ravi Kumar, DM Agra, said, "It appears that the driver was sleepy while driving. Till now 29 people have been declared dead and a rescue operations is underway. The bus fell from 50 foot into a gorge (naala)".
"It is an unfortunate incident and efforts are on to rescue the survivors. Till now more than 29 dead bodies have recovered and the survivors have been sent to hospital for treatment," SSP, Bablu Kumar told reporters.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken cognisance of the accident and expressed his grief and condolences at the death of the passengers. Yogi requested his deputy Dinesh Sharma and Swatantra Dev Singh, the Minister of State for Transport, to immediately visit the accident site and meet the injured at the hospital to oversee their medical care. Both the DM, Agra and the SSP, Aligarh, have been also instructed to provide all possible medical attention to the injured.
Expressing his anguish over the death of passengers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. I pray that those injured recover fast. The State Government and local administration are providing all possible assistance to the affected".
Pained by the bus accident in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. I pray that those injured recover fast. The State Government and local administration are providing all possible assistance to the affected.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 8, 2019
BJP working president Jagat Prakash Nadda said, "Saddened to hear about the tragic loss of lives in an unfortunate bus accident near Agra. My heartfelt condolences to the grieving families. I pray for the injured a speedy recovery".
In the meantime, a three-member committee consisting of the Transport Commissioner, the Divisional Commisioner and the IG Agra, has been also set up to investigate the incident. The panel has been asked to submit a detailed report explaining the cause of the incident within 24 hours. Long term recommendations are also sought to avoid such accidents in future.
In the wake of this massive raod accident, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to the District Magistrate and gave directions for proper treatment of those injured. An ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh has been also announced by the UP Roadways for the kin of the deceased.