Bangalore, November 15: All the seven victims of the bus fire at Haveri in Karnataka on Thursday have been identified, police said in Bangalore on Friday.
“The victims have been identified with the help of their kin and the passengers list from the bus operator,” Haveri Superintendent of Police M. Shashi Kumar told IANS.
The ill-fated private-run luxury bus burst into flames after it rammed into the railing of a bridge on National Highway (NH4) in the early hours at a village near Haveri, about 330 km from Bangalore.
Of the seven victims, five, including a couple and their three children, were a family from Mumbai.
The couple was Kalim Khan, 40, Sameera Banu, 32, and their three children Aman, Numan and Kaif.
“The Khan family was on a return journey to Mumbai after a holiday trip to Bangalore. They were seated in the rear portion of the bus and burnt to death in the fire,” Mr. Kumar recalled.
The other two victims were Hemanth Kumar from Surat in Gujarat and Niyaz, one of the two bus drivers, from Bangalore.
The victims’ bodies are kept at the state-run KIMS Hospital in Hubli, about 410 km from Bangalore, for autopsy and DNA test to ascertain their gender and relationship with kin.
“Tissue samples from the bodies have been collected for the DNA test with those of their relatives. As all the bodies are charred, we do not know which one belongs to whom, especially among the grown-up four victims, including three males and one woman,” Mr. Kumar said.
Of the 25 injured passengers, five are still in the Hubli hospital, recovering from the burns suffered while jumping out of the bus.
The remaining were discharged after treatment and sent to Mumbai Thursday in a state-run bus.
“A case of rash and negligent driving leading to deaths has been registered against the surviving driver and the bus operator (National Travels) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Motor Vehicles Act,” Kumar said.
The driver, who fled from the accident spot and went missing, has been traced and arrested from a town in northern region of the state.
“The wreckage of the gutted bus is retained at the mishap spot for inspection by experts from the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP) centre, New Delhi, to ascertain the cause of the fire,” Mr. Kumar said.