A bus crashed into a highway barrier in southern India and erupted in flames early Wednesday, killing 42 passengers – dozens of them burned alive in the inferno, officials said.
The driver and six others managed to escape through a window, Deputy Police Inspector General Naveen Kumar Chand said. The other passengers, apparently asleep at the time of the crash, were trapped inside, according to The Associated Press.
The bus, operated by Jabbar Travels, had been traveling overnight from Bangalore to Hyderabad and was passing another vehicle when it crashed into the roadside barrier in Mehabubnagar in southern Andhra Pradesh state, Chand said.
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The diesel tank then caught fire, and flames engulfed the bus, according to Pradeep, a police official who goes by one name.
Angry relatives gathered at both the Bangalore and Hyderabad offices of Jabbar Travels, forcing police to send officers to keep order. Police were also searching for the company's owners in Bangalore, the main city in the neighboring southern state of Karnataka.
India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organization. More than 110,000 people are killed every year in road accidents across India, according to police.
Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.
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