Passersby and policemen stand near the mangled remains of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus which collided head-on with a container lorry near Tamil Nadu’s Avinashi town, in Tirupur district, near Coimbatore on Thursday. (PTI)
COIMBATORE (TN) :
The accident took place as container lorry entered the wrong lane and crashed into the KSRTC bus coming in the opposite direction, said police
A TILE-laden container lorry crossed into a wrong lane and rammed into an oncoming Kerala-bound transport bus from Bengaluru in a high-speed head-on collision in a highway in Tamil Nadu in the wee hours of Thursday leaving 20 passengers dead and 28 injured. Police said that the accident involving the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus occurred around 4 am on the Salem-Kochi highway at Avinashi in Tirupur, 40 km from Coimbatore. As many as 48 passengers were on board the bus that was proceeding to Ernakulam from Bengaluru, police said.
Twenty passengers, all Keralites, died on the spot while the injured were admitted to hospitals in Tirupur and some referred to Coimbatore, police said. The dead included six women. Driver V D Girish and conductor V R Baiju were also among the dead. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said, 23 people were seriously injured and were undergoing treatment in various hospitals while five others sustained simple injuries and were proceeding to Kerala. The lorry suffered a tyre burst before colliding with the KSRTC bus, he told the State Assembly, adding, all the victims were Keralites. The driver of the lorry apparently lost control after the tyre burst and jumped the median and collided with the oncoming passenger bus, police said.
The driver Hemaraj, a native of Ernakulam, has been arrested. Most of the passengers were asleep when the lorry crashed into the bus that reduced the passenger vehicle to a heap of mangled metal. The accident which happened on a day that marked the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the Kerala’s State Motor Service was described as the worst in Tamil Nadu in recent times. “It wasa high speed collision. The container lorry went outof control,” said Palakkad Superintendent of Police Siva Vikram. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Palaniswami, and Kerala Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan condoled the loss of lives. “Extremely anguished by the bus accident. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families.
I hope those who are injured recoverat the earliest,”thePM’s Office said in a tweet quoting Modi.The accident left the survivors shell-shocked. Karishma, on her way to Ernakulam, said she was seated on the left side of the bus and was sleeping atthe time of the mishap. “When I woke up suddenly, I saw many people running around and the injured being taken in ambulances,” the woman told the media. Another passenger identified only as Alan said he was still finding it difficult to overcome the shock.
“I have sustained a minor injury on my leg.But my friend is injured on the nose and I am takinghimtohospital,”hesaid. Jemin George said he suffered a cut on his lips and an injury to his forehead that required 10 stitches. “I do not know what exactly happened. I was sleeping,” he said, adding,hewas referred to a hospital in Coimbatore. Aweepin gwoman passenger alleged that the container lorry was overloaded and there were not many vehicles on the road. She said the right side of the bus was completely damaged. Though reports initially suggested that the bus was proceeding towards Thiruvananthapuramin Kerala, officials later clarified its destination was Ernakulam. Palaniswami said that he has asked the Tirupur administration to coordinate with their Palakka dcounter parts,to expediterelief works including sending the bodies of the deceased to the neighbouring state.