Rayagada: More than 50 passengers had a narrow escape after the bus they were travelling in caught fire near Tarini chhak at Siriguda in Rayagada district late last night.
The mishap reportedly took place on Friday night when the bus was on its way to Polasara in Ganjam district from Kasagumuda in Nabarangpur district.
A short circuit is suspected to be the reason behind the mishap. The bus was completely charred despite the best efforts of fire fighting teams.
A passenger of the bus said, "At around 12 in the midnight, we witnessed smoke coming out of the bus. When we inquired, the bus staff told us to remain calm. After an hour, we again found smoke and fire in the bus but the staff insisted to stay inside. When the bus catches fire completely, they told us to vacate the vehicle."
He further alleged that the bus had no fire safety equipment. "The bus staff didn't alert the passengers onboard. Their callousness would have cost several lives. We are fortunate to be alive today," he added.
The passengers also alleged that the bus driver and conductor fled the spot and the local police didn't cooperate with them.
"The bus was overloaded. Though we complained of a possible fire, no staff of the bus listened to us. Important documents of several students were charred in the fire," said another passenger.