The driver of the bus that plunged into a ravine in Telangana killing 57 people was conferred the best driver award by the government only last month, officials said Wednesday even as the death toll from the accident rose to 58 with a woman succumbing to injuries.
The overcrowded state-run bus had swerved off the road and hurtled down a hillside into a gorge Tuesday, killing 57 people and injuring 28 others in one of the worst highway tragedies in recent memory.
The TSRTC has submitted a preliminary report to the government indicating that the accident happened when the driver, who was also killed, either lost control while trying to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle or negotiating a sharp downhill curve, a corporation official said.
A police officer said the number of those killed rose to 58 Wednesday when a woman succumbed to injuries during treatment. Twentyseven people are still undergoing treatment in hospitals in Jagtial and Karimnagar districts and the condition of at least three is serious.
The deceased included 37 women and five children.
The deceased were from nearby villages and most were daily commuters, he said.
Some of them died due to suffocation, while others succumbed to head injuries.
A case has been registered and investigation is on, Ramana said. He said experts will examine the vehicle to ascertain the exact cause of the accident.
The officer, who did not want to be named, ruled out the possibility of brake failure being the cause of accident.
"Based on prima-facie information, a preliminary report has been submitted to the government. A detailed report will follow after a thorough inquiry," he said.
Police and TSRTC officials said around 90 passengers were on the bus against seating capacity of 54 when it met with accident.
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