Yavatmal (Maharashtra), Sep 28 (IANS): In a shocker, at least four persons were killed when state transport bus with at least 8 passengers on board was washed away while crossing a submerged bridge in Umerkhed in Maharashtra's Yavatmal 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 turbulent river flow before it got wedged in a fallen tree trunk.
By late afternoon, rescue teams managed to fish out the bodies of the bus driver, conductor, and two passengers.
At least four other passengers managed to clamber onto the roof of the bus, bobbing dangerously in the swirling river and three were rescued by the villagers.
Employment Guarantee Minister Sandipanrao Bhumre, who is the Guardian Minister of Yavatmal, supervised the search and rescue ops.
A crane with ropes was deployed on the river bank to retrieve the bus stuck in the fast-flowing river this evening as rains continued to lash the district as the side-effects of the Gulab cyclone.
Top district, police officials, ST officers and fire brigade teams also rushed to help the rescue efforts along with youths from surrounding villages.
Several parts of the state including the coastal Konkan districts of Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Nashik, Pune, Dhule, Nandurbar, Beed, Osmanabad, Satara, Kolhapur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Jalna, Nanded, Latur, Parbhani, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, and others have been lashed by torrential rains in the past three days.