PATNA, India — A bus caught fire after falling into a ditch along a highway in eastern India on Thursday and five people are feared dead, a state government official said.
Pratay Amrit, a disaster management official, said eight people were rescued from the bus before it was gutted by the fire. Passengers were taken to hospital for treatment of burn wounds. Their injuries were not life threatening.
Thirteen people were in the bus heading for New Delhi from Muzzafarpur, a town in Bihar state, Amrit said.
Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
The Press Trust of India news agency earlier said 20 people were feared dead in the accident.
Amrit said a team of forensic experts were examining the burned wreckage of the bus as five people on board were believed to have perished in the fire.
The rescue work was completed late Thursday near Motihari, a town 180 kilometres (115 miles) north of Patna, the Bihar state capital.
More than 110,000 people are killed annually on India's roads. Most accidents are attributed to reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.
In January, 43 people were killed when a bus fell into a canal in eastern West Bengal state when its driver was talking on his cellphone.