Twenty-eight people, most of them women and children, drowned when a maxi-cab in which they were travelling plunged into the Undabattikere lake, 10 km from here, on Tuesday.

Five people were rescued and are recuperating at K.R. Hospital here. The tragedy took place around 5.30 p.m. All 28 bodies — 24 women, three children and a man — have been retrieved. The accident occurred when they were returning from Nanjangud after attending ‘Beegara Oota', a custom at the bridegroom's house after a wedding ceremony.

The victims, from Haralukuppe, Yelekere and Balakere villages in Pandavapura taluk in Mandya district, were either family members or the relatives of the bride, Pooja, a native of Haralukuppe, who married Lokesh, from Nanjangud, last week.

The names of the victims are Sannadevamma, Premamma (mother of Pooja), Lakshmi, Arathi, Premamma (grandmother of Pooja), Geetha, Veena, Bhagyamma, Latha, Jayanthi, Geetha, Indiramma, Vinodha, Sumathi, Jayamma, Rathnamma, Lakshmamma, Arathi, Bhavana, Savitha, Mahadevamma, Narayana Gowda, Tayakka (wife of Narayana Gowda), Rani, Nisha, and children Manasa, Chintu and Prashanth.

Those who survived the accident are Veena, Ramamani, Bharathi, Jayamma and Mahadevamma. The maxi-cab driver and his assistant swam to safety and fled the scene.

According to reports, the bride's relatives were returning to their respective villages in the maxi-cab, a goods autorickshaw and a car after attending the feast at Nanjangud. The newly married couple survived as they were travelling in the car.

Eyewitnesses said the driver lost control while overtaking another vehicle and the overcrowded maxi-cab fell into the lake, which was full of water after the recent rain.

The relatives travelling in the goods autorickshaw saw the accident and rushed to the rescue. However, they were able to rescue only five persons as the ill-fated vehicle sank into the water within minutes of the accident. Local villagers helped search for the bodies.

The government has announced compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the family of each victim and Rs. 50,000 to the injured persons.

Keywords: Road accident