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57 persons, including four children and 30 women, died when a bus packed with 98 passengers plunged downhill into a valley near Shanivarpet village in Jagitial district on Tuesday. Another 43 passengers who were injured, some of them seriously, have been shifted to various hospitals in Jagitial, Karimnagar and Hyderabad.

The 40-seater bus was taking a deep downhill curve in the last lap of the Kondagattu ghat section when the driver lost control over the wheel, resulting in the bus overturning several times on the hill slope, literally crushing many of the passengers in the process.

Sources said the driver, who was also among the dead, was taking the slope in neutral gear. When he applied brakes suddenly at a speed-breaker at the curve, passengers standing behind fell on him, leading to his losing control of the vehicle. The sheer number of passengers shifting their body weight to one side at the curve could also be a factor in the driver losing control, sources said.

The Chief Minister also announced Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia to the families who lost their loved ones in the Kondagattu bus accident.



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