India bus crash inferno kills 44: police
A speeding bus exploded in a ball of flames after crashing into the central reservation on a southern Indian highway, killing 44 passengers as they slept.
Only five people on the vehicle escaped the inferno, including the driver and the cleaner who broke windows and fled before the fuel tank exploded, police said.
"The number of dead, which includes children, is 44," said local police spokesman Venkateshwarlu, who uses only one name.
Fatalities were high even by deadly Indian standards where bus crashes, particularly on the treacherous roads of the northern Himalayas, are common.
Venkateshwarlu said the driver and cleaner had tried to flee the scene of the accident, which occurred about 5am (1030 AEDT) on Wednesday between Bangalore and Hyderabad.
"The police caught them and they are now in our custody for questioning," he said.
Relatives of the victims screamed and broke down in tears outside the office of the bus operator in Hyderabad, 140 kilometres from the crash site.