In a tragic incident involving a bus falling off a bridge in the Sidhi district, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the rescue operation after the accident is completed and 45 dead bodies have been recovered.

Earlier in the morning, more than 50 people were on board a bus that was en route from Sidhi to Satna when the driver of the bus lost control at around 7.30 AM. District Police Superintendent Dharamveer Singh spoke to news agency AFP where he said, “We have found 37 bodies and they have been sent for autopsy.”

A State Disaster Response Force team (SDRF) along with concerned officials initiated the rescue operations that continued for more than 5 hours. As the rescue operation ensued, doctors and ambulances were also called to the site. Although the cause of the accident has been identified as a loss of control over the vehicle, it remains unclear as to what caused the bus to swerve.

Later in the day, news agency Press Trust of India reported that seven people, including the bus driver, were able to swim back to safety.

Video of the accident  

After the accident, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that he has ordered to stop the water outflow from the nearby Bansagar dam so that the water level of the canal does not rise and the rescue operation could carry on. In Bhopal, he spoke to reporters where he assured him that he is well aware of the accident and is monitoring the situation.

“I am continuously monitoring the situation. I am in touch with senior officials engaged in the rescue work,” said Shivraj Singh when he spoke to the reporters. The CM also announced ex gratia of Rs. 5 lakhs to the immediate kin of each of the accident victims. Chouhan said, “I have also sent Water Resources Minister Tulsiram Silawat and MOS for Panchyat Ramkhelawan Patel to the spot in a state plane.”

Earlier in the day while the rescue operation was underway, the MP CM was joined by Tulsi Silawat to join him in assessing the situation. Tulsi Silawat, Former Cabinet Minister, in his statement said, “Chief Minister has been taking a minute-to-minute detail of the accident since morning. Two of us are going to Sidhi as per his (Chief Minister’s) instructions.”

According to the eyewitnesses, the bus sank completely as soon as it fell off the bridge and was not visible in the morning hours after the accident. Later, after the CM’s instruction, the administration stopped the release of water which helped in the water level dropping down. The bus was then spotted and 2 cranes were called out to retrieve the bus.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief in one of his tweets and labelled the accident as a “horrific” one. Modi also announced an ex gratia of Rs. 2 lakh for each immediate kin of the victims of the accident.

PM Modi in his tweet said, “The bus accident in MP’s Sidhi is horrific. Condolences to the bereaved families. The local administration is actively involved in rescue and relief work.”

Indian President Ramnath Kovind also express his grief and said, “My heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking event. I wish those injured to get well soon.”

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed his sorrow and said how he is in touch with the Madhya Pradesh CM. Shah also added that all possible help is being provided for the relief and rescue operation.

Shah tweeted: “The bus accident in Madhya Pradesh`s Sidhi district is very sad, I have spoken to the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The local administration is providing all possible help for relief and rescue. I express my deepest condolences to the relatives of the dead and wish the injured to get well soon.”