Lorry ferrying labourers collides with truck transporting two-wheelers
In a horrendous accident, 10 persons died — nine of them burnt alive — when their lorry collided with an oncoming truck on National Highway 13 close to Kalledevarapura village near Jagalur in Davangere taluk around 4 a.m. on Wednesday. The police said both the vehicles were being driven at high speed.
Four of the dead are women, one a 16-month-old toddler and another a nine-month-old infant. Their driver is also among the dead.
Over 40 others on the lorry have been admitted with serious injuries to the General Hospital in Jagalur and the Chigateri General Hospital in Davangere.
Both the lorries were completely burnt, making it impossible for the police to retrieve any documents to help with investigations.
Scores of new two-wheelers being transported to Bangalore from Haryana on the other lorry were also gutted.
The 50 or so labourers were being ferried to their native Bandebasapura tanda in Kudligi taluk in Bellary district after being hired for crushing operations in a sugar factory in Mandya. Their lorry is said to have collided against the oncoming vehicle's diesel tank, triggering the fire.
While 10 died instantaneously, the others leapt off the vehicle and fell rolling on the Bangalore-Sholapur highway. Shocked drivers of passing vehicles screeched to a halt to avoid running over them. Later, they joined rescue operations and called the police.
The police identified the deceased as follows: Vinod Raj (22) who was the driver, Prakash (26), Neelabai (30), Sumathi Bai (25), Shobha Bai (30), Koushalya (9), Asha (7), Rahul (3), Pandya (16 months) and Vaishali (nine months). Traffic on NH-13 was disrupted for over five hours with hundreds of vehicles stranded till the authorities, led by Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil, launched rescue operations and cleared the wreckage by 9 a.m.