As many as six persons, including an infant, were killed and at least 20 others injured when a private bus met with an accident at Bidu Chhak NH-16 under the Soro police limits in Baleswar district on Saturday.
As most of the injured were in critical conditions, the death toll was likely to increase.
The identities of the deceased were yet to be ascertained.
District Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy, Regional Transport Officer Rashmiranjan Dalbehera and other senior officials and police and fire brigade personnel rushed to the site for a rescue operation. It was suspected some passenger could be trapped in the mutilated bus.
The ill-fated bus named ‘Shantilata’ was on its way to Bhubaneswar from Manatri of Mayurbhanj district via Udala when the mishap took place. When it stopped at a bus-stop near Soro to pick up passengers, a coal-laden truck hit it from behind. Following the collision, the bus swerved off the road leading to the death of six passengers.
The bus was carrying passengers with its full capacity while and some were also standing.
The injured were rushed to the nearby CHC at Soro while the serious cases were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep grief over the six persons losing their lives and offered his condolences to the bereaved families.
Patnaik also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the deceased. He directed to provide advanced treatment to all the critically-injured passengers.