Four persons were killed and five others injured when the van in which they were travelling veered off the road, hit a tree, and plunged into a culvert before coming to rest against the arch of a small bridge that spanned the dry canal at Vattappara on the outskirts of the city early Thursday morning.

The police identified the deceased as Vivekanandan, 53, of Krishna Nivas, Kottamam, his wife, Ambili alias Padmaja, 49, their son, Vishnu, 23, and relative Jittu alias Unni.

The injured persons, all relatives of the deceased, are Sunil Kumar, 32, his wife, Raji, both of them recently married, Satyadevan, 56, his wife, Vijayakumari, 55, and Visakh, 14. All are residents of Vizhinjam and Parassala.

Sub-inspector, Vattappara, P. Anil Kumar said the accident occurred at 1.10 a.m. A police patrol headed by sub-inspector Sudhakaran had first spotted the white-coloured van, part of which was stuck under the concrete arch of the small bridge. The police suspect the driver, Vivekanandan, had dozed off.