At least 13 passengers travelling in a government bus were reported killed after their bus collided with a cement laden lorry at T Kallupatti, about 40 km from Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
The bus driver was among those killed. Police said the toll could increase as the condition of some of the passengers was serious. The mishap occurred after the lorry driver lost control of his vehicle.
According to police, as reported by the PTI, the bus was on its way to Kumily in Kerala from Rajapalayam and the lorry for Thiruvananthapuram from Karur.
The bus had 40 passengers on board and the drivers of both the bus and lorry died on the spot.
The injured passengers trapped between the seats were rescued by police and fire service personnel.
All of them have been taken to the Government Rajaji hospital in Madurai.
State Minister Sellur Raju and District Collector Veeraraghava Rao both visited the injured at the hospital and also monitored the rescue operations at the accident spot.
The administration has also deployed a JCB (excavator), ambulance and fire service personnel as part of rescue operations.
Chief Minister Jayalalitha has condoled the death of 13 persons, while the officials said that the preparations were in full swing to send their dead bodies to their villages after completing formalities.
Jayalalitha announced compensation of Rs one lakh each to the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured persons.