Rescue workers have recovered bodies of ten persons killed in the bus accident at Thazhathangadi near Kottayam on Tuesday. The dead included two women and two girls.
There is apprehension that more bodies may be in the river into which the bus had plunged. Navy divers restarted the search operations this morning.
About 15 persons have been admitted to hospitals with injuries and the condition of one of them is serious. A man who had joined the rescue efforts collapsed and died on the spot, taking the toll to eleven. The post mortem of the bodies is underway.
The bus, which had hit an electric post on the roadside, had rolled over and plunged into the Meenachil River. Electric lines snapped as the bus hit the post at Arupuzha junction, and some passengers experienced electric shock. In the next instant, they found themselves under water where the River which was more than 20 feet deep.
Escaped passengers said that the bus had around 40 passengers including students while the latest indication is that it could have been lower. At least 20 persons had escaped from the bus immediately after the accident.
Rescue workers have managed to lift the bus out of water late on Tuesday evening. Initial efforts to lift the bus had failed as the iron ropes of the cranes snapped. Two of the naval helicopters, which had reached the spot for joining the rescue efforts earlier, returned because they could not land safely near the accident site. One, however, managed to land at Kottayam. The search was discontinued late last night.
The State Cabinet, meeting here this afternoon, is expected to take decisions on providing solatium to the next of kin of the dead and the injured.