2 killed, 25 injured as bus catches fire

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 21 (UNI) At least two passengers were burnt alive and 25 others injured, six of them critically, when a Madhya Pradesh Road Transport Corporation sleeper coach caught fire near the busy Kalpana square here today.

Orissa Health Secretary Chinmaya Basu said the bus was carrying 67 pilgrims from Laxmanpura, Hinotia and Jirapur villages of Rajgada district in Madhya Pradesh.

It accidentally caught fire near the busy Kalpana square and the entire bus was engulfed in a ball of flame in no time. While two persons were burnt alive, six people, with varying degrees of burns, were rushed to the SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack and 19 others were admitted to the Capital Hospital here.

The deceased were identified as Bhiran Singh and Ratan Lal, both in their 60's and belonged to Hinotia village.

The city's fire brigade office, which was just at stone's throw distance from the accident site, rushed fire tenders to extinguish the blaze but by the time fire tenders reached at spot, the entire bus was gutted with all the belongings of the passengers.

Phiringilal Dinga (62), who escaped with minor burns, said he noticed the fire at the door of the bus and shouted at the driver to stop the bus. The driver hit the brakes but by then the fire had already engulfed the entire bus.

Local people rushed for the help and broke the glass panes to rescue the passengers, majority of whom jumped through the broken glass windows of the bus to save their lives.

Most of the pilgrims were above 60 years of age while there were 15 children, who also escaped with minor injuries, police said.

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