It was a close shave for 39 passengers on Wednesday afternoon when a Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus (route 17 M) smashed through the concrete railing on the ramp of Gemini — or Anna — Flyover and tumbled onto Anna Salai at the point it enters Teynampet. Even though passengers escaped with minor injuries, this is one of the most dramatic road accidents the city has seen in recent times.
The bus, which had originated from Broadway, climbed the flyover around 1.30 pm while on its way to Vadapalani. It was going at a high speed while negotiating a sharp curve to the left on the bridge, as a result of which it suddenly swerved to the right and broke through the wall and rolled onto the road.
“The driver was overspeeding as he took the turn and the vehicle was pushed to the right due to the centrifugal force. He should have reduced the speed while turning,” said a senior MTC official.
The bus fell from a height of over eight feet but the slope along the flyover reduced the impact of the fall. “The flyover is over 14 feet high. But the accident took place on the ramp that goes towards Nungambakkam and G.N.Chetty Road,” said a police officer at the accident site.
Injured passengers were rushed to the Government General Hospital, Royapettah Government Hospital and Apollo Hospital in eight ambulances. “There were no causalities. People sustained minor injuries,” said a paramedic in one of the ambulances.
V. Anbazhagan, who was sitting in the third row on the side right of the aisle, claimed the driver was holding a mobile phone even though he did not see him speaking on the phone. “But he faltered while taking the turn,” said Mr.Anbazhagan, who hails from Vellore and was in the city to purchase electricity meters.
Police arrested the driver, Prasad, and conductor Hemakumar.
“They have been booked under Sections 279 (rash and negligent driving), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others),” said Pondy Bazaar traffic investigation inspector Nandakumar.
A senior MTC official said after the police probe, stringent action would be taken against the driver and conductor.
State Minister for Social Welfare B. Valarmathi, Chennai Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy and Additional Commissioner (Traffic) Sanjay Arora were present at the site to oversee rescue operations.
CM announces relief
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced Rs. 25,000 each to the passengers who were severely injured and Rs 10,000 each to those who had sustained mild injuries.
In a statement here, she said she had directed officials to provide the best treatment to the accident victims.