The driver and six others managed to escape through a window, deputy police inspector general Naveen Kumar Chand said. The other passengers, apparently asleep at the time of the crash, were trapped inside.
The bus, operated by Jabbar Travels, had been travelling overnight from Bangalore to Hyderabad and was passing another vehicle when it crashed into the roadside barrier in Mehabubnagar in southern Andhra Pradesh state, Mr Chand said.
The diesel tank then caught fire, and flames engulfed the bus, according to Pradeep, a police official who goes by one name.
Angry relatives gathered at both the Bangalore and Hyderabad offices of Jabbar Travels, forcing police to send officers to keep order. Police were also searching for the company’s owners in Bangalore, the main city in the neighbouring southern state of Karnataka.
India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. More than 110,000 people are killed every year in road accidents across India, according to police. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving and poorly maintained roads.
Yesterday’s crash happened more than 800 miles from the Indian capital, New Delhi.
Meanwhile, a train crashed into a passenger bus as it passed through a rail crossing in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, killing at least 11 people, emergency officials said. Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Centre said the crash also injured several people.
Photos showed a white passenger bus half crumpled and tilted on its side. Hundreds of people gathered at the scene.
Road accidents with high death tolls are common in Kenya. Crowded buses frequently speed to cut down travel times.