Eight persons killed and 18 others injured when a private bus plunged into a roadside irrigation canal at the accident prone stretch on the Khammam-Hyderabad highway in the early hours of Monday.

The bus carrying around 30 passengers was proceeding from the State capital Hyderabad to Kakinada in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh when the mishap took place.

According to sources, the speeding bus rammed into the parapet wall of the bridge across the Nagarjunasagar Project (NSP) left bank canal before nose-diving into the irrigation channel.

The accident took place near Nayakangudem village in Kusumanchi mandal.

On being alerted by the local fishermen, the Kusumanchi police rushed to the spot and rushed the injured passengers to the district headquarters hospital.

The police pressed into service a huge crane to retrieve the bus from the canal. The death toll is likely to increase as a few other passengers are believed trapped inside the bus.

Collector D S Lokesh Kumar and other senior officials reached the spot to supervise the rescue operations.

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