22 kids hurt in Mumbai bus fire

22 kids hurt in Mumbai bus fire


Firemen at work near the school bus which caught fire while carrying school students, at Panvel in Raigad district of Maharashtra on Thursday. PTI

The private mini-bus was ferrying 38 children to CKT High School in Panvel, nearly 50 km from Mumbai, when it caught fire at 6.50 am, police said. The children were going to school after a 10-day break due to swine flu outbreak. Many of the kids were trapped inside the burning bus.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the mini-bus caught fire due to a short-circuit, but investigations are on,” a police official said. Police have also roped in forensic experts and RTO officials to ascertain the actual cause of the fire. “The RTO officials have been roped in to find out whether there was any kind of mechanical or electrical defect in the vehicle and the forensic experts will ascertain whether petrol and diesel or any such substance has caused fire. They will take the samples and send to the laboratory for testing which is likely to take two-three days,” Ahmed Pathan, Inspector, Panvel police station said.
Meanwhile, Hanuman Nalavade, owner and driver of the mini-bus, was detained by the police.

“Based on the statements of students, we have arrested the driver and cleaner and have booked them under several sections of the Motor Vehicle Act for negligence due to which the bus caught fire. The accused are in police custody and will be produced before the Panvel court tomorrow (Friday),” Pathan said.

“It was the responsibility of the driver to ensure children’s safety, and it was his duty to see whether there was any defect or leakage in the vehicle. It is due to his negligence that the accident occurred,” he added.

Rescue act

People from the neighbourhood rescued 16 of the children unharmed, S T Ghadge, principal of CKT College, located on the same campus, said.

Two seriously burnt children were rushed to Mumbai’s Masina Hospital, while another two were taken to the National Burns Institute in Airoli, Navi Mumbai.

The other children were treated at various local hospitals and allowed to go home later. Meanwhile, an agency report said seven children had sustained severe burn injuries.
“The two children admitted to Masina Hospital are in ICU and are in critical but stable condition.

“The 11-year-old girl got 60 per cent burn injuries on her back, upper arms and legs, while the 10-year-old boy suffered 40 per cent burns on his lower legs,” Masina Hospital in-charge Dr Veena Sangare said.

N M Jadhav, principal of the school, said the JBSS Trust, which runs the institution, would bear the medical expenses of the children involved in the accident.

The private mini bus had been contracted by the parents to pick and drop the children.

DHNS and Agencies

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