Around 50 persons were injured after a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus plunged into a roadside pond at Puthukulam, two kms away from Kottamom near Parasala on Monday morning.
Of the injured, the condition of two bus commuters, Siby and Indira, were stated to be serious. The others are undergoing treatment at the private hospitals in Parasala, Fort and at the Government Taluk hospital, Neyattinkara and the medical college hospital in the capital. The injured include the driver and conductor.
The mishap took place at 9.40 a.m. when the KSRTC ordinary bus from Kaliyakkavila on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border was on its way to Thiruvananthapuram. The driver of the bus lost control of the vehicle as it was approaching the Puthukulam bus stop on the side of the pond.
The bus rammed into a roadside coconut tree and plunged into the left side of the pond. Around 10 commuters who were waiting in the bus stop ran away on seeing the bus coming at a high speed towards them.
The locals immediately carried out rescue operations and soon the police led by the Dy.SP, Neyattinkara, D. Vijayan and the fire service personnel joined them. The injured were immediately rushed to the hospitals. After all the bus commuters were shifted to the hospitals, the locals and the fire and rescue service personnel carried out search operations in the pond. The pond was drained after the locals expressed apprehension that commuters might have fallen from the bus into the weed-infested pond.
Locals said they rushed out of the house on hearing cries for help from the bus as it was coming down the slope towards Puthukulam. The driver showed exemplary courage and in ensuring that the bus rammed into the coconut tree to minimise the impact. “Had the bus proceeded ahead, it would have mowed down the commuters standing at the bus stop and had plunged into the deepest side of the pond’, a local said.
By 12 noon, the bus was pulled out of the pond by the fire and rescue service personnel with the help of crane. Brake failure seems to have resulted in the accident, according to Mr. Vijayan. The bus conductor had informed that tickets were given to 42 commuters before the previous stop. Many had boarded the bus at the previous stop before the driver lost the control of the vehicle.