HYDERABAD, India — An overnight bus crashed into a highway barrier and burst into flames Wednesday in southern India, killing 45 passengers who were locked inside the cabin — many of them burned alive in the inferno, officials said.
The driver, a bus cleaner and five passengers managed to escape through a window in the front of the bus, according to the transportation minister of southern Andhra Pradesh state, Botsa Satyanarayana.
The other passengers were trapped inside the sleeper bus, which had an automatic locking system that could be controlled by the driver, said local police official Pradeep, who goes by one name.
Only three of the 45 charred bodies could be identified, state Information Minister D.K. Aruna said. "Authorities are gathering the DNA samples from the bodies" to use in identifying the rest, he said.
Police detained the driver and bus cleaner for questioning, and filed charges including negligence against the bus operator, Jabbar Travels, the transportation minister said.