18 killed 19 injured as bus hits milk tanker in UP's Unnao

    Unnao (UP), Jul 10 (PTI) Eighteen people were killed and 19 injured when a double-decker sleeper bus headed for Delhi hit a milk tanker on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway here on Wednesday, officials said.
    The accident occurred around 5 am near Jojikot village in Behta Mujhawar police station area.
    District Magistrate Gaurang Rathi said it appears that the bus, which was coming from Motihari in Bihar, was speeding and hit the milk tanker from behind.
    Eighteen people died and 19 were injured in the accident. A probe has been launched into the matter, he said.
    Rathi said 20 passengers who sustained minor injuries were sent to Delhi in another bus, which was carrying 60 people.
    Additional Director General of Police, Lucknow, S B Shiradkar told PTI that 14 men, three women and a child were killed in the accident.
    Bangarmau Circle Officer (CO) Arvind Kumar said due to the collision, both the bus and milk tanker overturned. Drivers of the two vehicles were among the dead.
    He said the injured were rushed to a hospital and their condition was stated to be stable.
    Glass shards and people's belongings lay scattered on the highway next to the overturned bus and milk tanker. Cranes were used to put the two vehicles back on their wheels and they were later towed away.
    The impact of the collision left the front portion of the bus badly mangled with one side ripped open.
    "We were sleeping. I don't know what happened," Mohd Shamim, a passenger who sustained head injuries in the accident, told reporters at the hospital.
    Another passenger, Dilshad, lost six of the eight family members he was travelling with.
    "We were sleeping at the time of the accident and woke up to find ourselves trapped inside the bus. Those who reached the spot were busy recording videos instead of helping," Dilshad said.
    He said the bus driver was speeding all night.
    Later, Dilshad identified six members of his family -- Ashfaq (45), Ruby (40), Gulnaz (12), Suhail (4), Sonu (32) and Soni (28) -- in the post-mortem house.
    Four other deceased were identified as bus driver Ekhlaq (49), milk tanker driver Sunil Kumar (35), Deepak Kumar (27) and Shivdayal (28).
    Police had earlier said 14 bodies had been identified. However, they later said that only 10 had been identified so far.
    Another injured, Chandni, said there were around 60 passengers in the bus and officials reached the accident spot an hour after the incident.
    She thanked the local administration for facilitating a video call with her husband.
    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said officials have been instructed to ensure the best treatment for the injured.
    "The loss of lives in a road accident in Unnao district is extremely sad and heartbreaking. My condolences are with the bereaved families," he said in a post on X.
    "District administration officials have been instructed to reach the spot and expedite the relief work. I pray to Lord Shri Ram to grant a place to the departed souls at his feet and for the speedy recovery of the injured," the chief minister said.
    President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident.
    In a post on X, Murmu said, "The news of the death of many people in a road accident on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh is extremely sad. I express my deepest condolences to the family members of those who have become victims of such sudden death and wish for the speedy recovery of those injured."
    PM Modi announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the deceased.
    "The road accident in Unnao is extremely painful. My condolences to those who have lost their loved ones in this (accident). May God give them strength in this difficult time. Along with this, I wish the injured a speedy recovery," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) quoted Modi as saying in a post on X.
    Modi said the local administration is extending all possible help to the victims under the supervision of the state government.
    "The Prime Minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF for the next of kin of each deceased in the mishap in Unnao. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000," the PMO said.
    Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge expressed grief over the incident and urged the administration to provide all help to those affected.
    "The news of the death of 18 people in a tragic road accident on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway in Unnao, UP, is extremely saddening. We express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims," he wrote on X.
    Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav posed a series of questions to the BJP-led state government over the incident.
    "Where was the highway police? Was regular patrolling not being done? How long did it take for the highway ambulance service to arrive after the accident and what was its role in relation to the casualties?" he said.
    Crores of rupees are collected on the expressway every day. Is this money going somewhere else instead of being spent on management of the expressway, he said.
    BSP president Mayawati said the news of the Unnao accident was extremely sad and measures must be taken to prevent such incidents in future.
    According to an official release, the district administration has issued helpline numbers -- 0515-29707662, 0515-2970767, 10774 (toll-free), 96514327035, 94544174476 and 8081211297.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)