Eight die as bus catches fire in Maharashtra

A private bus carrying a marriage party caught fire in the early hours of Saturday, charring to death eight persons, including four women and two children.

The bus, belonging to Nikita Travels of Hinganghat, suddenly caught fire around 3 am near Jam village, 64 km from here on National Highway 7, when the wedding party was returning to Hinganghat from Nagpur. "Most passengers were asleep and the sudden fire caught them unawares, leading to chaos inside the bus," Additional Superintendent of Police, Wardha, T S Gedam said.

The bus had started from Nagpur, where the wedding took place, at around 1.40 am on Saturday. "The ill-fated bus had about 30-35 passengers, including the groom's father Sanjay Kumar. It first developed a snag at a toll booth. The driver apparently did some wiring repair before the bus could start again. But it again came to halt a little ahead. The driver again got down and started looking for the fault when the bus suddenly caught fire at the front side. The passengers rushed towards the backside of the bus, but couldn't get out. While some managed to break the window panes and rescue themselves and others, eight passengers were charred to death," Gedam said.

Asked if the passengers couldn't have got out of emergency exit, Gedam said: "They had apparently been blinded by the smoke that quickly spread inside the bus."

The deceased were identified as Devanand Bhagat, Chandraprabha Haridas Meshram, Nanubai Bhagat, Sumitra Nagrale, Dnyaneshwar Humane, Chandrabhaga Mhaiskar and two children Aditya Mankar (8) and Pratik Dofe (14).

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