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PHOTOS: Bus with Ajmer pilgrims catches fire, 16 dead

Last updated on: May 19, 2012 12:53 IST

PHOTOS: Bus with Ajmer pilgrims catches fire, 16 dead

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Sharat Pradhan
They had set from their homes in the remotest corners of Eastern Uttar Pradesh for a pilgrimage to the famous Ajmer dargah, but barely a few hours later many of them met their gruesome end as the bus in which they were travelling, caught fire after a collision with a truck loaded with sand in Bahraich, about 130 km from Lucknow on Friday evening.

While initial reports put the death toll at 25, local authorities later said that 16 people were killed. 

Another 12 persons were seriously injured in the accident on Gonda-Bahraich road near Chilwaria village.

With inputs from PTI

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Image: The bus caught fire after colliding with a truck


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According to the police, the fire was apparently caused by gas cylinders being carried by the group of pilgrims who had hired the bus from Faizabad and were making their first halt at Bahraich where they were to offer prayers at another dargah as a precursor to their Ajmer pilgrimage. 

A magisterial inquiry has been ordered, District Magistrate Kinjal Singh said.


Image: Passers-by watch the charred bus


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Bus with Ajmer pilgrims catches fire, 16 dead

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Superintendent of Police, Bahraich, B P Kanaujia said that a total of 16 bodies have been recovered including that of seven women. Twelve seriously injured persons have been admitted to a district hospital and some have been sent to Lucknow for treatment.

Though Singh declined to specify how many people were inside the 54-seater bus, which was carrying the pilgrims from Ambedkar Nagar to Ajmer Sharif, Chief Development Officer of  the district Sukhlal Bharti said the bus was carrying about 60 to 70 people.

Image: The bus was carrying about 60 to 70 people


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However, Mehdi Raza, one of the rescued passengers, said that there were about 80 people in the bus when the accident took place.

Singh said the bus caught fire possibly due to the explosion of a cooking gas cylinder inside the vehicle. However an inquiry will establish the cause, she added.

Rescuers had used gas-cutters to cut open the twisted metal of the bus to pull out bodies and survivors from inside the vehicle.

 



Image: 12 pilgrims were seriously injured in the mishap


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