12 dead, 43 injured as bus catches fire in West India

NEW DELHI — A bus caught fire early Saturday morning after it crashed into a truck on a highway in western India, killing at least 12 passengers, officials said.

Another 43 people with severe burns were taken to a hospital in the Maharashtra city of Nashik, said police officer Bhagwan Adke.

Most of the passengers were asleep when the bus caught fire around 5 a.m. and the vehicle burned down, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Several people living near the highway arrived at the scene but were unable to help as raging flames engulfed their vehicles. After firefighters and police extinguished the blaze, rescue operations began, Adke said.

The state’s top elected official, Eknas Shinde, said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was suffering from the bus tragedy. ‘ Modi wrote on Twitter.

Nashik is located approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra.

Hundreds of thousands of people are killed or injured on Indian roads every year. Most accidents are caused by reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.

Associated Press