From 27 Deaths to 0: Bizarre Turnaround in Motihari Bus Accident
It turns out that no one died in the bus accident, despite many casualties having been reported.
A day after the news broke of a deadly bus accident in Bihar’s Motihari, in which 27 people were killed, the State Disaster Management Minister announced that there were actually no casualties.
In a bizarre turnaround, the minister, Dinesh Chandra Yadav, who had on Friday himself announced the death toll, said the information he shared was procured from local sources, and it was false.
The bus tragedy had elicited condolence messages from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other top leaders.
From 27 Deaths to Zero
Yadav, issuing a clarification on Friday, told ANI:
The information of deaths was wrong. Yes, I said 27 people have died. It was based on info from local sources, but I also said that only the final report will be considered.
"There was a booking for 13 people. Eight were taken to hospital by authorities. There was no sign of the remaining five. No remains were found. They might have left the spot on their own," he added.
“No human remains were found in the bus. Initially, it was believed that 40 passengers were aboard, as only 8-9 were rescued, the casualties were feared. However, a detailed investigation followed and no bodies were found," the Bihar Disaster Management Board said, as reported by DNA.
From CM to PM, Everyone Reacted
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is busy campaigning in Karnataka ahead of the state assembly elections, reacted to the news of 27 people losing their lives in the horrific accident.
My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to a bus accident in Bihar’s Motihari. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest.Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also expressed grief over the incident, and observed a minute's silence as the news reached him in Patna at a function organised to launch various schemes of the transport department.
Kumar had said he was “pained by the irony” that the news of the incident was received by him at a function held by the department concerned with road safety.
Kumar was also quoted in an official release as having ordered expeditious payment of ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased and proper treatment of the injured.
Apart from Modi and Kumar, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also tweeted, "Very saddened by news of bus accident in Champaran in Bihar. Casualty may go up to 24 or more."
What Happened on Thursday
The bus, enroute to Delhi, overturned and caught fire in Bihar’s Motihari. The bus was travelling to Delhi from Muzaffarpur.
The incident took place around 5 pm on NH-28 near Belwa village under Kotwa police station area, about 30 kilometres from Motihari, the district headquarters.
Yadav had said at least 20 people were killed when the bus skidded off a highway, fell into a deep pit and caught fire.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (Sadar) Murli Manohar Manjhi, 11 people were undergoing treatment at hospitals for injuries sustained in the incident.
Officials claimed they found nothing to suggest that any person was trapped inside the bus when it went up in flames.
The bus has been completely charred. If anyone was trapped inside, it could only be ascertained after special equipment is brought in to cut through it, Principal Secretary, Disaster Management, Pratyay Amrit said.
However, Manjhi, as also East Champaran SP Upendra Kumar Sharma, said not a single body was recovered from the spot and that while the bus was engulfed in flames, there was no smell of charred flesh.
Some of the surviving passengers told regional news channels that "only 13 passengers, besides the driver and a helper", were inside the vehicle when the incident took place.
They said 32 passengers had booked their seats in the private bus, out of whom only 13 had boarded at Muzaffarpur and the remaining were likely to catch the vehicle at Gopalganj.
(With inputs from DNA, PTI and ANI)
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