At least 37 passengers have been killed after a bus fell off a bridge into a canal in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, police told AFP news agency.
“We have so far found 37 bodies and they have been sent for autopsy. Search and rescue operations are under way,” District Police Superintendent Dharamveer Singh said on Tuesday.
The bus carrying more than 50 passengers plunged into the canal at approximately 7:30am (02:30 GMT) local time in Sidhi district, about 560km (347 miles) from the state capital Bhopal, according to local media reports.
The State Disaster Response Force and other officials have been running the rescue operation. So far seven people have been rescued.
Local media reported the bus was completely submerged, and images showed officials in orange life jackets using rescue boats to look for survivors.
Local officials stopped the release of water into the canal, which sped up the rescue operations and allowed two cranes to pull the bus out, reports said.
“What has happened is extremely tragic. The entire state is standing with those affected,” Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a video message posted on his Twitter account.
He announced a compensation of Rs 500,000 ($6,875) to the families of those killed in the accident.
India has the world’s deadliest roads, with 151,113 people killed in accidents in 2019, an average of 414 a day or 17 an hour, according to a government report.