47 drown as bus plunges into canal in MP

At least 47 people were killed when a packed passenger bus veered off the road and plunged into a canal in MP’s Sidhi district on Tuesday morning. Most of the victims were found dead in their seats.

The suddenness of the crash left a slim window of survival — only six passengers could get out alive; four are reported missing. This is the worst accident in MP in terms of toll. Twenty of those killed are women — most of them were going to attend an ANM (auxiliary-nurse-midwife) exam in Satna town. The other half of the victims were their companions, mostly brothers and fathers. Two children are among the dead.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former CM Kamal Nath have expressed grief over the tragedy. Chouhan announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of each of the dead. They will also get Rs 2 lakh each from PM Relief Fund.

The private bus had left Sidhi, on the edge of western Madhya Pradesh, around 5.30am, with 38-40 passengers. Some more boarded at way stops. It’s believed there were at least 57 passengers when the bus crashed.

The normal route is via NH39, which passes through Chhuhiya Ghati. The driver, who is yet to be found, took an alternate route along Banganga canal because the ghat roads lead to daily bottlenecks. It’s not yet known why he lost control because the bus crashed on a straight stretch of canalside road. Some say he tried to give way to another vehicle and had miscalculated his distance from the edge.

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