At least 19 people died and 25 others were seriously injured in Bangladesh after a bus smashed through a highway fence and plunged into a roadside ditch.
It is believed the dead driver had lost control at 8 am on Sunday morning and hit the railing of a recently build major expressway, sending the bus some nine meters into the ditch, carrying more than 40 passengers, police reported.
The horrific incident took place in the southern district of Shibchar, which is some 80 kilometers away from the capital city of Dhaka.
“12 passengers were critically injured, who have been shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in the capital for treatment,” local police chief Masud Alam said, AFP news agency reported. It is reported that the death toll will rise as some injured people are in critical health conditions.
Road incidents are common in Bangladesh due to old and badly maintained vehicles and roads, as well as poor safety roles. Nearly 400 people were killed and 800 were injured in more than 300 road accidents in the two weeks around the Eid al-Adha holidays in Bangladesh, last July, despite traffic officials’ claim that road crashes have decreased by 50 percent.
In 2018, a series of massive student protests, sparked by the death of two teenagers, forced Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to approve raising the maximum prison time to five years from three for causing death by rash driving.
Some 9,951 people were killed in road accidents last year alone, according to the Bangladeshi passengers’ welfare association. Reckless driving and poorly maintained vehicles have been the major reason behind the high number of traffic accidents in Bangladesh according to experts.