At least 25 passengers were charred to death in their sleep in a major bus accident on the Nagpur-Mumbai Super-Expressway at Buldhana on Saturday, officials said.
The bus, belonging to Vidarbha Travels, was traveling from Nagpur to Pune and the tragedy occurred near the Sindhkhedraja area at around 1.15 a.m., a police official said.
According to the police, the bus was speeding when it hit an expressway divider, then a pole and was out of control for some distance before there was an explosion followed by a ball of fire that engulfed the vehicle and trapped the passengers.
There were a total of 33 people aboard the bus, including two drivers and a cleaner, and so far 25 have perished in the disaster, while at least five injured have been admitted to the Buldhana civil hospital for treatment.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has expressed grief over the tragedy and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs for the kin of each deceased, and free treatment for the injured.
The police are probing the tragedy and the exact causes of the accident in which one driver was killed and the second has survived.