As many as eight persons, including two women, died and 59 were injured when a KSRTC bus fell into the Vishnusagara tank at Belur on Tuesday morning.

The bus was carrying around 70 people, many of them students, from Sakleshpur to Belur. As it was passing through the narrow road next to the tank, the driver lost control after the axle rod connecting the steering wheel got cut, plunging the bus into the tank. Among the dead, Vivina Pinto (19) of Kagegarje village in Belur taluk, was a second year B.Com student. The others have been identified as Yashoda (27) of Bikkodu, Tammana Gowda (65) of Intitolalu, Gopala (35) of Nandagodanahalli, Mohammed (35) of Arehalli, Nagaraja of Bikkodu — all residents of Belur taluk, Lokesh Naik (30) of Somenahalli tanda in Kadur taluk of Chikmagalur district, and bus conductor Vishwanath of Nidaghatta in Javagal hobli of Arsikere taluk.

Around 15 college students and youths came out of the bus through the windows and the door as the bus was not fully immersed in water. They rescued others by breaking open the window panes of the bus.

A few passersby also joined in the rescue effort. They rescued over 50 people, who are now being treated in Hassan and Belur hospitals.

Adil Pasha, an eyewitness, who was passing by when the accident occurred, told The Hindu that he saw bus falling into the tank.

“I immediately stopped my two-wheeler and joined the rescue efforts. Many others also joined me and we pulled out around 25 people, including students, from the bus,” he said. As news of the accident spread, hundreds of people gathered at the spot. A woman, who rushed to the spot upon learning of the incident, was inconsolable after she saw books and school bags lying on the ground. Her child was one of the passengers in the bus. The police suggested that she visit the hospital where the injured had been taken. The bus belongs to the Sakleshpur depot of Chikmagalur division.

Compensation

R. Ramalinga Reddy, Transport Minister, visited the hospitals in Hassan and Belur where the injured are being treated. He announced compensation of Rs. 3 lakh each for the families of the dead and Rs. 15,000 for the injured. V. Anbukkumar, Deputy Commissioner, and Ravi D. Channannanavar, Superintendent of Police, rushed to the spot and supervised the rescue operation.

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