Fourteen persons were killed and 12 injured, six of them grievously, in two road accidents in Belgaum and Tumkur districts on Sunday.
In Belgaum, the driver of a mini-lorry lost control of the vehicle, which jumped over the road divider and ploughed its way into the oncoming traffic hitting two motorcycles, a car and a goods vehicle on a ghat section near Vantamuri, about 20 km from Belgaum. In all, nine persons were killed and nine injured in the accident on the National Highway 4.
In Tumkur, five occupants of a car were killed and three were critically wounded when its front tyre burst and the driver lost control. The car hit the divider and then the edge of the bridge before it fell off the bridge, from an approximate height of 25 ft near the Chottanahalli Gate on National Highway 48 in Kunigal taluk.
In the Belgaum incident, three of the 11 persons injured are battling for their lives in the district government hospital. Of those killed four are women. The mini-lorry driver and cleaner, who suffered minor injuries, have been taken into custody.
The police, who rushed to accident site on the Pune-Bangalore National Highway, said that the mini-lorry first hit a motorcycle killing its driver instantaneously. Later, it ran over another motorcycle killing two riders. Then, it ploughed into a car, killing two of its occupants.
The mini-lorry overturned but only after ramming into another goods carrier, killing another two occupants.
The victims have been identified as Vijay Khannukar (32) and his wife, Smita (27), Indumati Mahadev Pujar (55), Malu Karishna Krishnapgol (43), Padma (40), Pradeep Shivabasappa Karoshi (20) and Abhijit Anant Devan (28).
Of the injured, the condition of Kamala Komal Katakugol (35), Gangamma N. Yellapurkar (40) and Renuka Pujari (35) was said to be critical. All the victims are residents of Machhe and Rajaram Nagar in Belgaum. All of them were stated to be returning to Belgaum after praying at a temple in Sankeshwar town.
The district hospital presented a pathetic scene with grief-stricken kith and kin of the injured and dead rushing there.
In the Tumkur incident, the five killed included two children. The police identified the victims as Manjunath (34), Anitha (24), Pushpalatha (28) and Preetam (4) and an eight-month-old boy. Srinivas and Vinutha, who were seriously injured, were shifted to a hospital in Bangalore. A four-year-old boy, Supreeth, escaped with minor injuries.
The victims were on their way to Bangalore after attending a marriage in Channarayapatna in Hassan district.