Eighteen people, including a child and four women, were killed and four seriously injured when a Bijapur-bound van in which they were travelling from Gulbarga rammed into a private bus near Mallayyana temple at Chikkasindagi on the outskirts of Sindagi town on NH-218 on Monday.
The injured were admitted to Sindagi Government Hospital. Later, they were shifted to Solapur in Maharashtra. The condition of three, who sustained head injuries, was said to be critical.
There were 22 people in the van.
Bijapur Superintendent of Police (SP) Ajoy Hilori said the identity of the dead had not yet been established. Based on the contact numbers in the mobiles of the dead, some relatives and friends of the victims had been contacted in Maharashtra. Three of the victims belonged to a family.
F A Trasgar, Additional SP of Bijapur, said the victims were from Mangalwadi in Jath taluk in Sangli district of Maharashtra. Most bodies were mutilated beyond recognition. And the injured were not in a position to give details. The people in the van were travelling to Bijapur after visiting Ganagapur, a place of pilgrimage in Gulbarga district.
Trasgar said the accident occurred at a curve on the road. The van was completely destroyed. It appeared that the drivers of the vehicles had lost control while negotiating the curve. The van driver was killed instantly. The bus driver fled from the spot.
There were about 40 passengers in the bus. A few of them sustained minor injuries.
Trasgar said five doctors were conducting the post-mortem of the bodies.
The police had a tough time extricating the bodies from the smashed van. They were helped by the locals.
The accident led to a traffic jam for some time on the highway.