The accident occurred when the bus hit the cement cargo-laden truck which was making a U-turn, police said adding, that it resulted in the fuel tank exploding, causing a fire. A total of 13 people were injured in the mishap, they said.
“The drivers of the two vehicles, a bus cleaner and a 25-year old woman passenger later identified as Monisha, a native of Aruppukottai were charred to death,” a senior police official said.
The luxury sleeper bus had 23 passengers onboard and most of them were asleep when the accident occurred at about 1.30 am, the official said.
A policeman who was among the passengers helped some of the occupants to exit through the emergency door of the bus.
The bodies of the dead were moved to a government hospital and their relatives were informed, police said.
The deceased woman had planned to visit her native place in view of the puja holidays, they added.
Of the 13 injured, a man suffered a fracture and a woman suffered mild burn injuries. While 11 of them were treated as outpatients at a government hospital, two others were referred to other hospitals.
Fire and rescue services personnel rushed to the spot and doused the flames while police personnel with the help of cranes removed the gutted vehicles from the National Highway. The accident led to traffic congestion for some time, police said.
In another accident, three people including two women were killed and five others seriously injured, when a speeding mini lorry ploughed into a crowd at Gangaikondan on Friday.
Police said the accident occurred, when there was a heated quarrel between four occupants in a car and the occupants of an autorickshaw in the middle of the Tirunelveli-Madurai National Highway, after the autorickshaw hit the car from behind, this afternoon.
As they stood in the middle of the highway, a speeding mini lorry that was passing by that time ploughed into them.