A bus crash in northern India left at least 20 dead on Friday, according to the Washington Examiner. Another 21 were injured in the incident, which occurred when the double-decker bus collided with a truck “on the highway near the town of Kannauj, which is southwest of Lucknow,” the Examiner reported.
At least some of those injured remain in critical condition, according to ABC News.
A deadly collision
According to ABC, “police suspect the truck driver lost control over the vehicle, leading to the collision with the bus.”
Reports indicated that the driver of the truck escaped, but the same couldn’t be said of all on the bus. “Many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition after the fire swept through the bus,” ABC reported, citing a senior police officer named Mohit Aggarwal.
Harrowing footage of the bus after it became engulfed in flames was shared on social media over the weekend.
At least 20 people died when a double-decker bus caught fire after colliding with a truck on a highway in northern India, police said, Friday, January 10.
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) January 11, 2020
An ongoing problem
Sadly, this sort of incident is all too common in India. According to a 2013 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the country sees more than 230,000 driving deaths annually.
“Approximately half of all deaths on the country’s roads are among vulnerable road users — motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists,” the WHO reported.
They went on: “A heterogeneous traffic mix that includes high-speed vehicles sharing the road space with vulnerable road users as well as unsafe road infrastructure and vehicles that are in poor condition all contribute to the high fatality rates seen on India’s roads.”
Indeed, a separate bus accident in 2018 killed 55 people and left another 33 injured as they made their way from a Hindu temple. The Associated Press reported that the bus driver in that incident hit a speed bump while traveling in Telangana state. He subsequently lost control of the vehicle, which then plunged into a gorge.
At the time, India’s transport minister, P. Maneder Reddy, claimed the high death toll in that crash was in part due to illegal overcrowding. “The bus was carrying more passengers than allowed,” Reddy asserted, according to the AP.
It remains unclear if the high death toll from Friday’s crash was caused by similar circumstances.