Yavatmal (Maharashtra), Sep 28 (IANS): A State Transport inter-district bus with at least eight passengers on board was washed away as it was crossing a bridge on a flooded river in Umerkhed, here on Tuesday morning.
Apparently ignoring warnings by locals, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) Nanded-Nagpur bus drove ahead in the flood waters which had submerged the bridge.
Barely had it gone a few metres, the bus got trapped in the powerful water currents, the driver lost control and the vehicle with the passengers toppled into the river.
Almost sunk to the roof, it was pulled ahead several metres by angry river water before it got stuck in a fallen tree trunk.
At least four of the passengers managed to clamber onto the roof of the bus, bobbing dangerously in the swirling river and three were rescued by the villagers.
"We have launched a search and rescue operation to trace and save the other victims," said Employment Guarantee Minister Sandipanrao Bhumre, who is the Guardian Minister of Yavatmal.
Top district police officials, ST officers and fire brigade teams have rushed to help the rescue efforts along with youths from surrounding villages.