Dozens Drown in India Bus Accident
Aug. 26, 1999
UCHANGIDURGA, India (AP) _ A crowded bus plunged into pool near a temple Thursday in the southern state of Karnataka, and dozens of people drowned, police said.
The exact number of victims was not immediately known, as there were no records kept of passengers on board the private bus. Police said at least 45 people were on board the bus, based on the number of seats.
Witnesses said the bus could have been carrying 80 to 100 people, as it was crowded and there were many people sitting on the roof. They said the victims were pilgrims leaving a Hindu religious festival celebrated at a nearby hilltop temple. The 100-foot square pool is used for ritual bathing.
The bus skidded down some stone steps into the water, local residents said.
Four people jumped off the bus and were unhurt. But there were no other survivors, witnesses said.
The accident occurred in the evening in this village near the town of Davanagere, some 1,250 miles southwest of New Delhi.
Police and local residents dove into the algae-covered, muddy water _ working without oxygen tanks _ and pulled out nine bodies by late night. Three cranes were brought in, but the metal cables tied around the bus snapped. Police were trying to bring larger cranes to the area by daybreak.
They pulled out the bodies of four men, four women and one child, said local police chief Gopal Hosur.
On June 8, a bus fell in an irrigation lake in a nearby village in the same district, and 94 people drowned.