44 Passengers Narrowly Escape as Vijayawada-Bound Bus Catches Fire
The bus drivers, Chennaiah and S Kesava, alerted the passengers after they saw smoke billowing out of the engine.
Less than 24 hours after an Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus with nearly 70 passengers caught fire in Vijayawada, another private operator’s bus from Kadapa caught fire in Prakasam District.
The incident, which took place in the wee hours of Wednesday, occurred when the bus was travelling from Kadapa to Vijayawada. The bus had 44 passengers on board, all of whom were asleep. The two bus drivers, Chennaiah and S Kesava, alerted the passengers after they saw smoke billowing out of the engine.
Chennaiah, said, according to a report in The New Indian Express:
I noticed that smoke was seeping up into the driver’s cabin from underneath and alerted Keshava. We decided not to take chances and woke up the passengers and rushed them down. Soon smoke filled the bus and then the flames broke out.
Meghana Travels, who owned the bus, arranged alternative travelling facilities for the passengers to reach Vijayawada.
In a hurry to save their lives, panic-stricken passengers rushed out of the bus, leaving their belongings inside. It took two hours to douse the flames. According to E Peddireddy, the Fire Officer of Prakasham District, it is suspected that the mishap took place due to a short-circuit in the engine, The Hindu reported.
The police had to stop vehicular movement following the incident. Special Branch Dy SP U Nagaraju supervised the situation, while Road Transport Officials too rushed to the spot and began a probe.
According to a report in The Times of India, the bus was completely gutted by the time emergency services are fire tenders and reached the spot.
Just a day earlier, an APSRTC bus travelling with nearly 70 passengers went up in flames near the Siddartha Medical College bus stop in Vijayawada. The driver suspected a gas leak, and quickly evacuated the bus. There were no casualties.
(This piece was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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