A private bus crashed through the rail of a bridge and fell 100 feet into a river in northern India, killing at least 33 people Saturday, officials said.
The other seven people riding in the bus were injured when it fell in the Banas River in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, about 80 miles from the state capital Jaipur around 7:30 a.m., police said.
The bus was taking pilgrims from the towns of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to Ramdev temple on the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border.
The driver apparently lost control while attempting to pass another vehicle in foggy conditions.
The bus was brought out of the river with a crane. Rescue workers has used gas-cutters to enter the bus through its windows.
Two survivors told the Hindustan Times that a teenage conductor was driving when it crashed.
Survivor Kamlesh Devi, 27, from Uttar Pradesh’s Shamsabad district, said the bus conductor took the wheel from the driver after collecting fares. “He was driving rashly,” said Devi, who was traveling with her daughter, mother-in-law, pregnant sister-in-law and her two kids to the Ramdevji temple.
“I am married for six years. I have one daughter. But my family wants a son. So, I was coming to the temple to seek a baba’s [traditional healer] blessing so I give birth to a boy,” she told the Hindustan Times at a hospital in Sawai Madhopur.
Industries Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhwat said there would be financial assistance provided: $3,124 each to the next of kin of the deceased and $781 to each of the injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter he was “anguished by the bus accident.” He said the state government is assisting in “rescue operations and providing all possible assistance to those affected.”
By Allen Cone