Forty-eight people, including 25 men, 21 women and two children, drowned in Bansagar canal when a jam-packed bus heading for Satna skidded off the road and fell into the water body on Tuesday morning.
The 35-seat bus was packed to capacity with 55 passengers. Seventeen girl students, who were on their way to attend the entrance exam of ANM in Satna, are among the casualties.
The passengers had boarded the bus around 4.30 am from Sidhi bus stand. The driver had gathered at the bus stand that there was a traffic jam on the highway at Chuhia Ghat and decided to take a short cut.
He drove down a narrow road constructed along the canal, which is part of the Bansagar project. Somewhere along the road, the driver lost control of his vehicle and the bus plunged into the water.
Some students and other passengers standing in a mass near the door jumped off as the vehicle plunged. They, in turn, raised an alarm and passers-by rushed to the site to save the passengers.
Seven people, including the driver, managed to swim to safety. A magisterial probe has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.