"The bus carrying some 50-55 people, including a driver and a conductor, broke through the railing of the bridge before falling into the Sharda canal, after its driver lost control of the speeding vehicle," a police official told the media.
A rescue operation was soon launched by the local police and the State Disaster Response Force personnel. "Some 40 bodies have been fished out until now. The search operation is still on. Ten people, including the driver, swam to safety soon after the accident," he said.
Some local TV channels beamed footage of the six-hour-long rescue operation live.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have expressed condolences for the families of the victims.
"Bus accident in MP's Sidhi is horrific. Condolences to the bereaved families. The local administration is actively involved in rescue and relief work," Indian Prime Minister's Office tweeted as his government announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families.
In a video message, Chief Minister Chouhan said, "What has happened is extremely tragic. Families of those who have died will be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. The entire state is standing with those affected."
"A probe has been ordered into the accident. A search is also on to nab the driver of the bus who managed to escape," the police official said.