A new accident on the road hits India again. At least 25 people have been killed and eight others injured after a bus caught fire overnight from Friday to Saturday on a highway in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, police said on Saturday.

“There were between 30 and 35 people on the bus. Twenty-five people were killed and eight others were injured,” Baburao Mahamuni, a police officer, told AFP.

The bus was heading to the city of Pune after midnight when it hit a pole and overturned, igniting the tank on fire, it added.

Three children are among the dead, a police officer told reporters.

The injured, including the bus driver, were taken to a hospital near the crash site, some 400 kilometers east of India’s financial capital Mumbai.

Police said they have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.

“The priority right now is to identify the bodies and hand them over to their relatives,” police commissioner Sunil Kadasane was quoted as saying by local media.

The images released by the press first showed the bus on fire, then the charred remains of the vehicle overturned on the road.

“Deeply saddened by the terrible bus accident in Buldhana,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives. May the injured recover quickly,” he added.

Accidents are common on India’s extensive road network, which is poorly maintained and notoriously dangerous.

Among the main causes of accidents are speeding, failure to wear a helmet – in a country where sales of two-wheelers far exceed those of cars – and failure to wear seat belts.

According to a World Bank report released in 2021, 11% of the total number of road fatalities occur in India, despite the country having only one percent of the world’s vehicles.

150,000 fatal car accidents occur each year in India, according to an estimate provided in this report, resulting in the death of one person every four minutes.

According to the same source, road accidents cost India some $65 billion a year, while medical bills and lost income push many accident survivors into poverty.

In May, at least 21 people were killed when a bus fell off a bridge in central India after the driver fell asleep at the wheel, authorities said.

In October 2022, at least 31 people died after a bus carrying wedding guests crashed into the bottom of a gorge in the mountains of northern India.