The transport department on Thursday initiated an investigation into the bus accident that took place on a bridge on Mahanadi river two days ago, the officials said.
At least 10 passengers were killed and 42 others were injured in the accident.
A team led by the regional transport officer (RTO) of Cuttack began the probe after summoning the bus owner to the accident site, an official said.
The accident took place on Tuesday evening when a Bhubaneswar-bound AC sleeper coach from Talcher, carrying over 50 passengers, crashed into the railing of the bridge and plunged 30 feet down into the dry riverbed.
The driver of the bus had reportedly lost control when a buffalo came in front of it.
He had swerved the bus to save the animal and thus the accident happened.
The local motor vehicles inspector (MVI), who is part of the probe team, examined the mangled body of the bus, and said the vehicle was fit to transport passengers.
The bus had the requisite speed controller fitted in it to limit the vehicle’s speed to 80 km per hour, the motor vehicles inspector said.
The probe team is also examining whether the bridge, which is five decades old, is safe for heavy vehicles to ply on it, official sources said.
A similar bus accident had occurred on the same bridge in 1998 when a Cuttack-bound bus from Kendrapara had fallen into the river, they said, adding, at least 37 passengers had died and over 20 persons had suffered critical injuries.