At least 19 people were killed and 25 critically injured when a speeding truck rammed an overcrowded bus near Dhanarua village, about 30 km from here, on Saturday.

According to Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Jain, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a sharp bend near the Kolha Chak market.

Police sources said the exact number of passengers was not ascertained yet and hinted that more bodies might still be lying trapped in the ruins of the bus, which was on its way to Gaya from Patna.

While most of the injured were admitted to the Patna Medical College Hospital, others were being treated in the Dhanarua and Masaurhi government hospitals.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 50,000 for the kin of each of the deceased. He has directed the SSP and Patna District Magistrate Jitendra Sinha to intensify rescue operations and ensure that free treatment was given to the injured.