The accident occurred when the driver of the bus, according to eyewitnesses, tried to overtake another in the race to reach the next stop to pick up more passengers.

Twenty six passengers were injured, one of them seriously, when a city bus (Route No. 43A) fell into a ditch at Kallapu on National Highway No. 66, near Mangalore on Wednesday.

The accident occurred when the driver of the bus, according to eyewitnesses, tried to overtake another in the race to reach the next stop to pick up more passengers.

According to injured commuters, the Talapady-bound city bus (route no 43A) entered a portion of the highway that is being widened, which was free of vehicles, in order to overtake another bus going on the highway in the same direction. It was a bumpy ride for commuters as there were a few trenches dug up to drain rainwater from the road. The bus driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating one of these trenches.

The bus swerved to the right and slipped into the ditch before leaning on a side after hitting a portion of the compound wall of Kanachur Seasoning Industries. “Hearing a thud, I and several of my colleagues came out. We saw passengers crying for help,” said Mansoor B.S.K. from Kanachur Industries, who was one of the many employees who helped pull out injured passengers from the bus. The volunteers said they shifted the injured persons to the hospital in their own vehicles.

Eleven passengers were brought to the Father Muller Hospital, while six each were admitted to the Sahara Hospital and the Netaji Yellappa Memorial Hospital respectively. Two injured passengers are being treated at the Kasturba Medical College Hospital, Attavar, and one at the K.S. Hegde Charitable Hospital.

“He tried to overtake the bus on the highway. As there was dense traffic, he turned the bus to the right and entered the road that is being laid ,” he said. “The bus wobbled after passing across a channel and then it fell into the ditch,” said Sadashiv Kamath, who was riding his two-wheeler to Mangalore when the accident occurred.

“He (the driver) was clearly over the limit. He wanted to reach the approaching bus stop ahead of Route No. 44 bus ,” said injured Devadas while expressing his anguish over the increasing traffic violations by bus drivers .

Among the many injured included Kavita (37) from Bajal Jalligudde and Vasudeva Rao from Attavar, who were on their way to attend a marriage in Kallapu. “The bus stop where I had to get down was just a few meters away,” said Ms. Kavita, who has fractured her right hand. Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh said a notice would be issued to the National Highway Authority of India seeking explanation regarding allowing traffic movement on the road which was not ready yet. The Ullal police have taken up a case of rash driving (Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code), among others, against bus driver Krishna, who is one of the 11 admitted at the Father Muller Hospital.

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