Volvo Buses said it is awaiting the results of a “full investigation” by authorities into the accident involving one of its buses, near Kothakota, in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh early on Wednesday. “Unlike everybody else, we do not want to speculate on what caused the accident,” Sohanjeet Randhawa, Head of Marketing, Volvo Buses India, told The Hindu.
Mr. Randhawa said the “tragic accident”, involving the multi-axle vehicle which is typically configured to carry a passenger load of up to 50 people, would be “studied” from all angles by the company.
“Our team has landed at the accident spot and we are in the process of gathering all the relevant information,” Mr. Randhawa said.
He said that Volvo buses were usually equipped with two fuel tanks, one on either side of the bus. They are located behind the first axle, about one-third of the length of the bus from the front. The combined capacity of the fuel tanks, with one being “slightly bigger than the other”, was around 310 litres, said Mr. Randhawa.
Plastic fuel tanks
The fuel tanks are not made of metal, but plastic. “This is meant to ensure that they crack before they compress on impact, which will result in the fuel spilling upon impact,” he explained.
The tanks were tested for impact and fire at the company’s factory at Hoskote, near Bangalore, he added.
All Volvo buses, Mr. Randhawa said, were mandatorily equipped with hammers, placed prominently near the four emergency exits, so that passengers trapped inside could make a quick exit in the event of an emergency. Instructions on how and when to use them were displayed prominently at these exits, Mr. Randhawa said. “These are measures which comply with Volvo’s worldwide safety features,” another company source said.
The company said its bus manufacturing facility at Hoskote conformed to the same global standards adopted by Volvo Bus Corporation’s plants in Mexico, Poland and Finland.
To a question on whether the results of the investigation could have a bearing on the design of the buses, Mr. Randhawa said a comprehensive investigation would look at all possible causes of the accident, including road design and other factors. He said he expected the investigations to go on for a week or two.
The company said it would “fully cooperate” with the authorities and agencies investigating the accident.