At least 29 people were killed and 18 others injured when a bus careered off a notorious highway after the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel, officials said yesterday.
The bus was carrying more than 50 people along the Yamuna expressway — known as the “highway to hell” because of the number of fatal accidents — when it crashed through a concrete barrier and plunged more than 40 feet into a drainage canal.
“It appears that the driver was drowsy,” said Agra district magistrate N G Ravi Kumar, who provided the number of dead and injured.
The bus was travelling from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi when the accident happened just before dawn, some 20km near Agra.
More than 150,000 people a year are killed on India’s roads, which are notorious for design flaws and speeding drivers.
The 165km Yamuna expressway was India’s longest and most modern six-lane highway when it opened in 2012, but about 900 people have been killed on the road since, according to authorities.
The media have dubbed it the “highway to hell”.
Local residents said they were woken by the crash and found the mangled bus submerged in blackish-grey water.
Police said the bus landed on its roof in a drain, where running water complicated rescue efforts.
“We rushed out of our homes and saw people screaming for help,” one witness told reporters.
“We got into the drain and tried to save some of them. Soon police arrived and quickly brought cranes.”
Officials believe most of the passengers were asleep when the driver lost control of the vehicle.