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Bhopal City
21 charred to death as bus catches fire after falling into nullah

BHOPAL: Twenty one people were charred to death and 12 others suffered injuries after a bus fell 15-feet down from a culvert and caught fire in Panna in Madhya Pradesh on Monday. Two of the injured are reportedly critical. The bus carrying about 65 passengers was proceeding from Chhatarpur to Satna when the driver lost control over steering while negotiating a turn near famous Pandav falls in Panna National Park. The bus skidded off the road and plunged into a dry nullah.

All exit doors and emergency door of the bus were sealed as the bus landed on the ground sideways where the gates were. The impact resulted in leakage of fuel from its tank and the bus caught fire and passengers were trapped inside. The bus belonged to Anup Travels, an eyewitness said.

A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident which took place on NH -75 passing through Panna national park. Villagers and rescuers said most bodies were charred beyond recognition.

The injured were being treated at district hospital Panna. The two seriously injured were rushed to Rewa medical college.

A press release issued by Panna district administration said there were 65 passengers on board the bus. The bus was bearing registration No MP19 P0533. However, sources claimed that the death toll could be 35.

State government has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to next of kin of dead, Rs 50 lakh each to those seriously injured and Rs 25,000 to those injured.

A villager who first spotted the bus up in flames rushed to a nearby outpost of forest department as the accident took place inside national park. Forest guards rushed to the spot and started rescue work. They also tried to extinguish the flames and informed the district administration. Police dumped the bodies in a van and were taken to Panna.