India bus crashes and bursts into flames: 42 dead


India Bus Inferno (People gather near the debris of a bus after it crashed into a highway barrier and erupted in flames at Mehab

At least 42 people have been killed after a luxury bus crashed into a barrier and caught fire in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The vehicle was travelling from Bangalore city to Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh's capital, when the incident happened early on Wednesday.

Seven people, including the driver, managed to escape the blaze. The other passengers, who were believed to be sleeping at the time, were burned to death.

Police say a collision with a culvert ignited the fuel tank of the vehicle.

The incident happened at Kothakota in Mahbubnagar district, 140km (86 miles) from Hyderabad, when the air-conditioned Volvo luxury bus hit a culvert, police said.

"The diesel tank burst and flames erupted. Before the passengers could realise what had happened, the blaze engulfed the entire bus," residents of the village were quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper.

Most of the passengers were sleeping when the incident took place.

Seven people, including the driver and his assistant, broke the windows of the bus and managed to flee.

India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. The Guardian reports that more than 110,000 people are killed every year in crashes, according to police.

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