In a ghastly accident, 12 villagers, including five children, were killed en route the temple of a village goddess when the tractor in which they were travelling overturned on a tank bund and plunged into a pond near Chennarigudem village in Chilkur mandal on Sunday.

Most of the victims, mainly women and children, met a watery grave after they were trapped under the trolley and a shamiana (tent) which they carried for their temple visit. The tragedy occured when they were on their way to attend a lunch hosted by one of their relatives in connection with a ‘Keshakandana' ceremony at the Mysamma temple. According to the police, a tractor trolley carrying about 24 villagers from Chennarigudem to Mysamma temple at Bethavolu overturned when the driver lost control while trying to avoid an autorickshaw coming in the opposite direction on the narrow tank bund in the afternoon.

Eleven villagers, including four girls and a boy, drowned in the pond along with the tractor trolley. Of the three grievously injured passengers, a woman succumbed to her wounds while being shifted to a hospital in Kodad.

The deceased were identified as P Bhagyamma (30), B Gopi (9), B Sudha (8), L Chittaiah (65), P Lokhabhi (55), B Durga (9), K Srikala (12), G Navya (12), P Pulamma (50), B Sambaiah (60), P Alivelu (35) and Chandrakala (35).

Tractor driver Kutumba Rao escaped with minor injuries, but his wife Chandrakala and daughter Srikala perished in the mishap, police sources said. Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar, who supervised the rescue operations at the site, told The Hindu that reckless driving led to the accident. The shamiana carried by the passengers in the trolley proved fatal for women and children.