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Midnapore: At least six people have died and 45 have been injured in a bus accident at Jhitka forest in West Midnapore.

The accident took place today afternoon when a group of Adivasi people were travelling in the private bus from Salboni in West Midnapore to Belpahari in bordering Jhargram district to attend an Adivasi conference.

They had reserved the bus and there were some 55 people onboard, with 15-20 travelling on the roof of the vehicle.

According to a survivor, the bus was moving at a high speed right from the beginning. As it was negotiating a bend on the road passing through Jhitka forest, the driver lost control and the bus turned to its side.

“After falling on the road, the bus rolled over thrice and then came to a grinding halt on a low-lying area several metres from the road. Mostly, those travelling on the roof of the bus came under the overturned bus,” he said.

Hearing the cries for help, people from the vicinity jumped into a rescue drive and took out the injured. By then, six people were already dead. The 45 injured were rushed to the Midnapore Medical College and Hospital with injuries ranging from moderate to critical.

Police and doctors at the medical college said that the condition of 18 among the injured is critical. The driver of the bus managed to escape soon after the accident. Cops have launched a manhunt for him.