At least six tourists from West Bengal, four of them women, were killed and 40 were injured late on Tuesday night when the bus they were travelling in rolled down the road at Kalinga Ghat in the borders of Kandhamal and Ganjam districts of Odisha, police said.
The incident took place past midnight near Durgaprasad village in Ganjam and 15 people among the injured are in serious condition, the police said on Wednesday.
The bus carrying 77 people, about 65 of them tourists from West Bengal's Howrah and Hooghly districts, was moving towards Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh from Daringibandi in Kandhamal district when the mishap took place, Ganjam superintendent of police Brijesh Rai said.
Police and firefighters from nearby Bhanjangar rushed to the spot and rescued the bus passengers, 40 of who were injured. The others received minor wounds. Police suspect that the bus rolled down the road while negotiating a curve in the hilly terrain after the driver lost control over the vehicle.
The bodies of the six tourists who died in the mishap were retrieved after breaking the window panes of the bus, Bhanjanagar sub divisional police officer S S Mishra said. The dead are Supiya Denre (33), Sanjeet Patra (33), Rima Denre (22), her mother Mausumi Denre and Barnali Manna(34) from Sultanpur in Howrah district and Swapan Gushait (44), the cook from Gopalpur in Hooghly, police said.
The seriously injured were admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital here and Bhanjanagar sub divisional hospital. The condition of at least ten persons who are being treated at the medical college hospital was stated by its doctors to be serious, police said. Sources said the tourists had reached Daringbadi on Tuesday.
After spending the entire day in the hill town they left for Visakhapatnam at about 11.30 pm after dinner. The accident happened about an hour's journey from Daringbadi. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed grief over the accident and wished speedy recovery of the injured. Meanwhile, Odisha Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera has ordered a probe into the circumstances leading to the accident.
(With PTI inputs)