Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the death of 22 pilgrims who died in a road mishap in Andhra Pradesh.
PM Modi called the incident “saddening and unfortunate”.
“Loss of lives due to a bus accident in East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh is saddening and unfortunate. My deepest condolences,” the Prime Minister said.
A group of pilgrims were returning in an SUV after a visit to the Tirupati temple when they met with the tragedy. Their vehicle fell off a bridge at Dowleswaram near Rajahmundry. The incident occurred at Saturday morning.
The deceased include seven children, eight women and seven men. The driver and the owner of the vehicle also died. All the pilgrims were from Achyutapuram near Visakhapatnam.
Only a boy survived the tragedy. The injured boy is being treated in a hospital, police said.
Preliminary information revealed that the driver lost control of the vehicle and it crashed through the railing and fell off the bridge.
“The vehicle hit a railing, which broke under the impact of the collision, and fell off the bridge,” told East Godavari Collector Arun Kumar.
“It’s purely (a case of) negligent and rash driving. It was not a vulnerable point of the road and neither was there any traffic,” Kumar added.
Post-mortem procedures are on and the bodies are being handed over to relatives, Kumar said.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu also expressed his grief on the incident.
“Deeply saddened about tragic death of 21 people travelling in a van after it fell off Dowleswaram bridge. I’m monitoring the situation,” Naidu tweeted.
Deputy Chief Minister of the state, N China Rajappa, who belongs to the East Godavari district, visited the spot.