At least 22 people were killed and several critically injured when a tractor-trolley overturned and fell into a pond near a village in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, a senior official said.
The incident occurred in the evening near Bhadeuna village located within the Saar police station limits, he added.
The tractor-trolley, carrying about 50 people, was on its way to Ghatampur after the passengers attended a “mundan” ceremony at the Chandrika Devi temple in Fatehpur, the official said.
He added that more than a dozen people were killed on the spot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have expressed grief over the incident.
“Distressed by the tractor-trolley mishap in Kanpur. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones. Prayers with the injured. The local administration is providing all possible assistance to the affected,” Modi said in a tweet.
Adityanath has sent senior ministers Rakesh Sachan and Ajit Pal to the accident site to oversee the relief-and-rescue measures.
The injured were rushed to a community health centre (CHC) in Bheetergaon in ambulances arranged by police, the official said, adding that more than a dozen people were declared dead at the facility.
Talking to PTI over the phone, District Magistrate (DM) Vishak G Ayyar said police and the district administration have been told to carry out the rescue operation and ensure all possible assistance to the victims.
“An investigation is on to ascertain the reasons behind the accident,” the DM said, adding, “The exact death toll will be shared with the media soon.” The chief minister is personally monitoring the rescue operation, a government spokesperson said in Lucknow.
Adityanath has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured, the spokesperson added.