Gopi drove the moving bus after its driver jumped out of it on being stoned

An assistant driver of a bus grabbed the wheel of a moving bus after its driver jumped out of it, when miscreants hurled stones injuring him on the outskirts of Ibrahimpatnam town in Rangareddy district on Monday afternoon.

But tragically, the assistant driver breathed his last as the bus hit an electric pole and ploughed through a tree, before coming to a halt near a hillock. “The assistant driver G.V. Gopal Rao alias Gopi was flung out of the window due to impact and died on the spot. He had indeed saved the lives of nearly 40 passengers”, police said.

The private bus belonging to Kaveri Travels was on its way to Nellore from Hyderabad when it came under stone attack by a group of miscreants. The driver, Srinivasulu, who was injured on his head, jumped out of the moving vehicle in panic. His assistant, Gopi, who was sitting behind him, immediately grabbed the wheel and tried to steer the bus. But before he could take control, the bus hit the pole and then a tree. It halted only at the foothill of the hillock.

Gopi died on the spot, but the 40-odd passengers escaped unhurt, according to Ch. Vijaya Rao, Ibrahimpatnam Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).

The bus driver, who sustained head injuries, is recovering in a hospital.

Mr. Rao said such was the impact of the accident that the tree, which was hit by the bus, got uprooted along with the electric pole. “With the help of villagers, we tried to retrieve Gopi's body but in vain. We later recovered it using a crane”, Mr. Rao said. Gopi was a resident of NTR Nagar in Nellore.

A few minutes later, another bus carrying about 50 passengers came under attack from a stone-hurling mob. However, this time, the driver, Suresh, managed to stop the vehicle and the miscreants fled. A hunt is on to trace the assailants.

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