Patna: At least 27 passengers died after a bus travelling from Muzaffarpur to New Delhi turned turtle and caught fire on National Highway-28 near Belwa village in Bihar's Motihari on Thursday.
The vehicle toppled while the driver was taking a turn, and immediately caught fire.
State disaster management minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav said the vehicle caught fire after it fell into a ditch, news agency PTI reported.
Rescue efforts are on since many of the passengers on board are still trapped in the burning vehicle.
"As per preliminary information, the bus was carrying around 42 passengers of which eight have come out of the blazing vehicle. The death toll would be around 32-34," said principal secretary, disaster management, Pratayaya Amrit.
Separate teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force have been rushed to the spot with gas cutters. District magistrates of Muzaffarpur and East Champaran have also been asked to supervise rescue operations from the spot.
Hospitals in Motihari and Muzaffarpur districts have been put on alert.
"It is a really painful incident. Local administration officials are present at the spot. We will extend all possible help to the families of those who died," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said while speaking at a public function in Patna.
The Chief Minister, along with those present at the event, observed a minute of silence and prayed for the victims.
(With inputs from agencies)