Bus catches fire in West Bengal; one passenger from Odisha dies

The woman passenger was charred to death while trying to save an old couple stuck inside the bus.

Bhubaneswar: A passenger from Odisha died after a bus in which she was traveling caught fire on Friday night in Kharagpur area in West Bengal.

The deceased person has been identified as Pushpanjali Das, a resident of Nolia village under Marshaghai police limits in Kendrapara district.

As many as 36 passengers, of them 25 from Odisha were injured in the mishap.

“The bus was en route to Odisha from Kolkata. One person died due to burn injuries and several others were injured. On receiving information, the fire personnel rushed to the spot and controlled the fire,” informed West Bengal Minister Manas Ranjan Bhunia.

According to reports, the bus was coming from Babughat area in Kolkata to Paradip. Pushpanjali (34) along with her husband Rajendra Das, who works in Kolkata, and their daughter (11) and son (7) was travelling in the ill-fated bus to their village in Odisha for Diwali festival.

The family boarded the bus in Kolkata between 7 pm and 7.30 pm. The fire broke out in the driver’s cabin and spread the entire bus between 9 pm and 10 pm yesterday near Madhapur under Kharagpur police limits.

Sources said that some passengers got out of the bus breaking the window glass after the fire erupted in the vehicle. Pushpanjali asked her husband to alight from the bus first. She managed to get out with her daughter. Later, she handed over her son to husband through the window. However, she was charred to death in fire while trying to save an old couple.

Though, the cause of fire is still obscure, the preliminary investigation revealed that the bus was carrying explosive materials.

The bus was scheduled to reach Paradip at 5 am on Saturday. After receiving information about the bus fire tragedy, Balasore district administration immediately set a doctors’ ream and an ambulance to bring the victims back to Odisha.

“The health conditions of passengers from Odisha are stated to be not critical. They will be brought back to Balasore district through an ambulance. After they reach here, they will undergo health check-up again at the Balasore Medical College & Hospital,” said Balsore Collector Dattatraya Bhausahab Shinde.

Reliable source said that among victims, 16 were from Kendrapara district, 2 from Paradip area in Jagatsinghpur district and 7 from Jajpur district.

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