Five revenue employees were crushed to death when a sand-laden truck ran amok on the National Highway 18 at Pudicharla near here on Wednesday. Three others including a Tahsildar suffered near fatal injuries and were recovering in the hospital.

According to reports, a large contingent of revenue staff led by the Orvakal Tahsildar, Sunitabai, were waiting for the district Collector C. Sudharsan Reddy at the roadside, 15 km from Kurnool, when the truck ran over them killing three on the spot. Two others died later and three persons sustained serious injuries. The truck overturned after crushing to death the victims.

Four others including two reporters had a miraculous escape by jumping aside on noticing the speeding truck. It was believed that the driver of the truck could not view the waiting group due to the blind curve.

The officials were waiting to receive the Collector who was scheduled to visit the place to examine the open land needed for setting up new institutions.

The revenue officials were inspecting the area for suitable land for the institutions likely to come up near Kurnool following the bifurcation of State. The Collector reached the place within 10 minutes of the incident.

The truck (MH 25U 1586) was proceeding towards Hyderabad from Nandyal. Soon after the accident, the crew ran away from the spot.

The deceased were identified as Srinivasulu (Revenue Inspector), Venkateswarlu, Sivaramudu, Ramakrishna, all village servants and Gopal, a resident of Hussainapuram.

Sunithabai (Tahsildar), Timmaiah, VRO and Naidu, village servant were rushed to hospital. SP B. Raghurami Reddy visited the spot.

The police are investigating the case from the angle of sabotage as the driver might have mistaken the officials as vehicle checking squad.

The local people said the stretch has turned out to be a death trap for road users as more than 30 people died at the spot in the last five years due to dangerous curve and poor visibility.

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