Swift action by public, fire force averts tragedy

A tanker lorry carrying Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) overturned at the National Highway, near Thonnakkal, in the early hours of Saturday. Swift action by the Fire and Rescue Services personnel and the local people in removing the leaked fuel and in sealing the tanker averted the chances of a flare up. The driver sustained minor injuries.

The tanker was on its way from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited’s refinery in Kochi to supply fuel to the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

The accident occurred at 4 a.m., when the tanker lorry swerved off the road and fell into a side road, a few metres below the main road.

According to driver Ashok Yadav, the accident happened when he tried to avoid a truck which overtook the tanker.

The tanker uprooted a tree and overturned thrice and came to rest belly up in front of a house. According to the police and local people, there are chances that the driver fell asleep.

“The sound of the tanker crashing down was deafening. All of us rushed out and found the tanker lying upside down. The oil started leaking soon and we were scared of an explosion. It smelled like kerosene. The leaked fuel kept flowing into the house compound until Fire and Rescue Services personnel put sand over it to stop the flow,” says Rema Mohan in whose house compound the tanker fell.

“The power supply was immediately cut off. We collected the leaking fuel in containers and disposed it off at a distance. Once the leak was sealed, two cranes were pressed into service to move the tanker away from the spot to avoid any flare up,” says R. Prathapan Nair, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Attingal.

A case of negligent driving has been registered against the tanker driver.