The driver, Feroz Basha, his assistant and attendant Hayaz Basha, escape from the exit door next to the driver’s seat
What prevented the inmates onboard the ill-fated private travel bus from breaking glass-panes has baffled everybody. According to officials, several of the passengers could have survived, had somebody taken the initiative to break the glass-panes before the flames engulfed them.
In all, 44 passengers were charred to death while five escaped with severe burns when the bus went up in flames after hitting a culvert.
The leakage from the fuel tank ignited the fire.
The personnel extricating the charred bodies also recovered a badly burnt ball of flesh believed to have been that of an infant in the mother’s lap.
With this, the toll rose to 45.
The five passengers who jumped out of the bus were identified as Jai Singh, Yogesh, Rajesh, Srikar and Mazar Basha. The condition of two of them, who were shifted to DRDO Apollo Hospital at Hyderabad, was reported to be serious.
The driver, Feroz Basha, escaped from the exit next to him. His assistant and attendant Hayaz Basha also followed suit but only after suffering moderate burns.
The organisers of Jabbar Travels who were available on the spot said a hammer was available in the bus to break the window panes but the passengers appeared to have had little time to execute it.
Buchanna, an operator at the Kanimetta Electrical Substation, who was 200 meters away from the accident site, recalled that he heard a deafening noise soon after he entered his office to record the reading at 5 a.m. and mistook it for an explosion in the sub-station. He ran out and found nothing abnormal at the sub-station but saw the burning bus on the highway next to the place.
He ran towards it but the uncontrollable flames kept him at bay. He heard the cries of women and children which subsided after a few moments.
He rang up the local Sub-Inspector who reached the spot and summoned the fire tenders but everything was finished by then. “Everything was over in just 20 minutes,” he lamented.
The travel organisers said a speed control device was available in the bus and also denied that the fumes of air-conditioners were responsible for the flames.