FOURTEEN people, including seven children, died when their car collided with a stationary truck on the Lucknow-Allahabad highway, around 70 km from Pratapgarh district headquarters, an official said on Friday. The road accident took place on late Thursday night when the victims were returning from a wedding function in the Nawabganj area of Pratapgarh, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awanish Awasthi said. Pratapgarh Superintendent of Police (SP) Anurag Arya said the speeding SUV dashed into the truck parked by the road in the Manikpur police station area after one of its rear tyres got punctured near Deshraj Inara.
While five bodies could be taken out initially, a JCB machine had to be used to pull out the SUV from under the truck to retrieve the remaining bodies, he said, adding the bodies have been shifted to CHC Kunda and will be sent for autopsy later in the day. It took almost two hours to pull the car out from under the truck, the SP said. Arya, who visited the spot, said the police have spoken to the family members of the victims and assured all possible help. Awasthi said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed senior officials to reach the spot and extend all possible help. The CM has extended ex gratia of Rs two lakhs to each of those killed in the crash, he added. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed deep anguish over the loss of lives in the accident.