Autorickshaw bringing them back home from school falls into canal
Nine school students were rescued after the autorickshaw in which they were returning home from school fell into the Thevara-Perandoor Canal at a bend near the Pullepady overbridge on Friday evening.
The students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kadavanthra, were returning home when the driver lost control of the vehicle and it plunged into the dirty and slushy canal, around 3 pm. A few residents of the locality and a traffic police warden jumped into the canal and pulled the children out to safety from the autorickshaw, which fell on its side.
The driver came out of the trapped vehicle first. It was only later that people realised that the children were trapped inside the auto. The children, most of them in tears, were covered in grime by the time they were rescued and dirt had entered their mouths.
The preliminary assessment is that careless driving and erroneous road engineering caused the accident. Karthika, a Class VI student, said the driver lost control of the vehicle after it ran over loose rubble at the bend.
The City Traffic Police (East) have registered a case against the driver under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code and charged him with rash and negligent driving.
Residents of the locality said two-wheeler accidents were common at the bend, because of the difference in the height of the bridge and the side road. This is worsened by the height difference between the tarred surface and the over-a-metre-wide road shoulder.
The Traffic Police had requested the district administration in June to build a parapet along the banks of canals to prevent vehicles from falling into them.
“A letter was given to the [Ernakulam] District Collector, based on which officials of the Public Works Department were taken to vulnerable sites in different parts of the city. They were also taken to the site where the mishap occurred, but no action was taken,” said V.H. Mohammed Rafique, Assistant Commissioner of Police, City Traffic (West).