Five persons, including four women, were killed and 55 others injured, 25 of them grievously, in a collision between a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus and a private bus on the Sreerangam stretch of Main Central (MC) Road, near Chadayamangalam, at 9.40 a.m. on Monday.

Three of the victims are from Thiruvananthapuram — Priya Augustine, 33, residing at Sasthamangalam; Thara, Vilappilsala; and Shashidharan, 53, Kallummoodu. The two others are Ambili, 45, and her daughter Jayashree, 19, of Anchal. Priya died on the spot and Thara and Jayashree succumbed to their injuries at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital (MCH) in the afternoon. Shashidharan and Ambili died at the hospital in the evening.

Priya was employed as a Hindi teacher at the Anchal West Higher Secondary School. While Priya and Thara were travelling by the KSRTC bus, Ambili and Jayashree were on the private bus. Priya’s husband Augustine is a KSRTC employee attached to the Peroorkada depot in Thiruvananthapuram.

Among those critically injured, 14 were admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram MCH and 11 to the Gokulam MCH at Venjaramoodu. Seventeen persons who suffered minor injuries were admitted to the Kadakkal taluk hospital and three to the Chadayamangalam government hospital. Others were discharged after first-aid.

Those admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram MCH include the KSRTC bus driver, Chandran, 49, a native of Balaramapuram, and the driver of the private bus, Shinu 29.

KSRTC bus cut open

One portion of the KSRTC bus had to be cut open with an electric cutter to rescue the passengers. Traffic on the Chadayamangalam-Ayoor stretch of MC Road was disrupted for over two hours.

The Sreerangam stretch between Chadayamangalam and Ayoor is an accident-prone area with a sharp curve. The last major accident at the spot was in December when eight persons of a family where killed in a collision between a van and a KSRTC bus.

Eyewitnesses said Monday’s accident was caused when the driver of the private bus lost control of the vehicle while negotiating the curve and crashed into the right side of the KSRTC bus bound for Pampa from Thiruvananthapuram. The private bus, Triveni, from Punalur was on its way to Kadakkal.

The rescue operations, led by the Chadayamangalam Sub-Inspector Azad Abdul Kalam, were carried out by the police, personnel of the Fire and Rescue Services and the local people. The passengers were taken to hospitals in various vehicles. Chadayamangalam MLA Mullakkara Ratnakaran; District Collector B. Mohanan; Regional Transport Officer K.G. Samuel; Kottarakara Dy.SP Johnkutty; and people’s representatives rushed to the accident site.

The Collector has directed the Punalur Dy.SP, Kollam RDO and the Kollam RTO to conduct separate inquiry into the accident and submit their reports in two weeks.