Blazing bus claims two, five critical

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

The bus, which was coming from Puri with pilgrims from Laxmanpura and Hinotia villages of Madhya Pradesh, accidentally caught fire and the entire bus was engulfed in a ball of flame in no time.

Two passengers were declared brought dead to Capital Hospital here, official sources said.

The passengers were returning to their villages after visiting the Gangasagar mela and Lord Jagannath's temple in Puri.

The deceased were identfied as Bhiran Singh and Ratan Lal, both in their sixties.

Locals rescued 25 passengers, who were rushed to the Capital Hospital with varying degrees of burn injuries. Five of them were later shifted to SCB Hospital in Cuttack in critical condition, hospital sources added.

The passengers were carrying woollen garments and kerosene stoves which might have prompted the fire to spread so fast, the sources said adding that the bus was carrying an additional supply of diesel that worsened the case.

The fire that broke out only metres away from the State Museum gutted the bus completely.

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal, Industry Minister and local MLA B B Harichandrandrn and Transport Minister Jaynaran Mishra visited the victims in the hospital.

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