26 people hurt; superfast bus tried to overtake autorickshaw

Four persons, including a pedestrian, were killed, and 26 were injured, when two Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses collided on the National Highway near Kadambattukonam on the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram border on Sunday evening.

The police identified three of the dead as Sulochana, 56, of Edavattom, near Kundara; Vimala Kumari, 52, of Nettayam; and Sujatha of Parippali, the pedestrian.

Circle Inspector, Paravur, Jawahar Janard said the accident occurred when a superfast bus bound for Thrissur overtook an autorickshaw and collided with a limited stop superfast bus coming in the opposite direction around 6.45 p.m.

He said there was a slight drizzle at the time. The superfast had veered onto the carriageway for vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

The preliminary inference of the police is that rash and negligent driving of the superfast driver had resulted in the accident.

The sound of the collision was heard all over the neighbourhood and local people were the first to reach the spot and initiate rescue activities, the police said.

Soon, two police teams, one headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Attingal, Prasanthan Kani, and other by Kollam City Police Commissioner Debash Kumar Behara reached the spot along with Fire and Rescue Services tenders, cranes, and ambulances.

Along with residents, they took the injured to various hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. At least three of the injured were pronounced dead on admission to various hospitals. Three-year-old Krishna was among those injured. He has been admitted to SAT Hospital here.

The police blocked one lane of the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram highway to facilitate speedy movement of ambulances and rescue vehicles. Cranes were used to remove the buses from the road. Normal traffic was restored only by 8 p.m.

Chance victim

It was by pure chance that Sujatha, the pedestrian who was killed in Sunday's accident, happened to be at the site.

“She, along with her sister Ambi, had gone to the house of a relative who had died recently in the Gulf. She had just crossed the road and was walking home when the incident took place,” Sujatha's nephew Aji told The Hindu. Ambi, who has been admitted to the Medical College Hospital here, has not been told of Sujatha's death.

Health Minister V. S. Sivakumar told presspersons at the hospital that it had been fully readied to treat the injured.

“All specialist doctors have been alerted, the operation theatres have been readied and the blood bank too is ready to meet any demand,” he said.

Emergency aid

After consultations with Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed, it has been decided that the KSRTC would meet the hospital expenses of all those injured in Sunday's accident, he added.

On Sunday night, the government sanctioned Rs.10,000 as emergency aid for the families of those killed in the accident and Rs.3,000 to the families of those injured.