At least 12 people were killed and 49 injured after a private bus fell into a riverbed from the Mahanadi bridge near Jagatpur in Cuttack on Tuesday. According to eyewitnesses,Â the bus hit a buffalo before it fell off the the bridge. The bus, on its way to Cuttack from Talcher, crashed into the railing of the bridge and plunged 30 feet down into the dry riverbed, the police said.
The driver swerved the bus to save the animal and thus the accident happened, a police officer said.Â Policemen from Cuttack, along with fire brigade personnel and the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), rushed to the accident site to rescue the trapped passengers.Â
Chief Fire Officer Sukant Sethy said all the passengers trapped inside the bus have been rescued and they were taken to the SCB Medical College and Hospital for treatment.Â
Emergency officer of SCB Medical College and Hospital B N Maharana said they have received 12 bodies. Among the deceased nine were men and three woman.Â
Forty-nine people were undergoing treatment at the hospital, Maharana said. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep concern over the accident and has directed Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera to rush to the spot and oversee treatment ofthe injured.Â
The chief minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased. He said the injured would be provided free treatment. There was no water where the bus fell, said Cuttack deputy commissioner of police Akhileswar Singh.Â
(With PTI inputs)Â