Woman charred to death as KSRTC bus goes up in flames

Four passengers injured, one critical; cause of fire unclear

Woman charred to death as KSRTC bus goes up in flames
A woman was charred to death and four other passengers sustained burns when a KSRTC bus caught fire near Arishinakunte in Nelamangala, 30 km north of Bengaluru, shortly after Monday midnight. The exact cause of the fire is not yet known.

There were 21 passengers in the bus plying from Sringeri to Bengaluru. It had departed from Hassan at 8.30 pm and was scheduled to reach Bengaluru by 12.30 am. As the bus reached Arishinakunte around 12. 20 am, the conductor, Renuka Prasanna, noticed smoke billowing from the middle of the vehicle. She alerted the driver, Dinesh, who responded quickly and pulled into the roadside. The crew asked the passengers to get down immediately. Just as the panic-stricken passengers got to their feet, flames engulfed the bus. The saris of two female passengers — Bhagyamma (55) and Mamatha (35) — caught fire. Bhagyamma, with heavy build, could not move fast and was caught in the flames. But Mamatha was pulled out by other passengers, Amit Singh, Superintendent of Police, Bengaluru Rural, told DH.

Firefighters rushed to the spot after receiving information and doused the flames in about 15 minutes. Transport officials have inspected the bus and ordered forensic examination to determine the cause of the fire. Dry coconuts kept in plastic bags were found in the bus but the exact cause of the fire is unclear, a senior police officer said. Police are trying to pinpoint the area where the fire originated.

Doctors at Victoria Hospital said Mamatha had suffered more than 75 % burns and was unlikely to survive. Her son Yashus (5) and other passengers Dinesh Gowda (45), a resident of Peenya, and Padmanabha Shastry (55), a resident of Dasarahalli, sustained minor burns and were treated as outpatients at the government hospital in Nelamangala.

Bhagyamma hailed from Arsikere, Hassan district, and was a resident Dasarahalli. She and a relative, Chandramma, had gone to Chamarajanagar to attend a funeral. Another relative dropped them off at Bellur Cross where Bhagyamma boarded the bus. She called up her son a few minutes before the accident, asking him to pick her up at 8th Mile bus stop in Peenya, said another senior police officer.

Mamatha, too, boarded the bus at Bellur Cross on her way back from Veerapura, her hometown in Hassan district. Doctors attending to her said she had been estranged from her husband for some months. She is now keen to meet him, the officer said.
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