Five persons including two pedestrians were killed and a three year old child went missing when a SUV returning from Cochin International airport reportedly lost control, hit pedestrians and fell into the Meenachil river at Kidnagoor near Pala in an early morning mishap.

According to police, the family of C. V. James of Ullattil House, Kidnagoor (South) were returning from the airport after sending Mr. James’ wife Suja to italy where she had been working as a nurse. The accident occurred near the bridge over Meenachil river near the Kidangoor Sri Subrahmonya Swamy Temple.

Initial reports indicated that the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle hit two pedestrians, killing them both, before falling into the river drowning four of the seven passengers in the vehicle.

The deceased pedestrians have been identified as Mathai (43) of Chenathazhathu House, Kidangoor and Mahesh (31) of Pazhayapurackel House, Kidangoor (South). The passengers who died in the accident are: Subin (16) and Anu (11), two of the three children of James and his sister Mary (58) of Ayamkudiyil House, Chittadi, Palakkad. Three year old Ayona, daughter of James brother Joemon, is missing. The district authorities have pressed in the services of professional divers to search for Ayona.

Mr. James, his nephew Johnlee (nine years) and driver of the vehicle Lileesh escaped with minor injuries. The accident occurred less than a kilometer away from James house at around 5:45 am. It could be the result of over speeding or the driver napping after a night’s drive, police said. However, the driver insisted that he lost control when vehicles coming in the opposite direction failed to dim their lights, police added.

K. P. Rajendran, Minister for Revenue, has declared a financial assistance Rs.10,000 each, for the relatives of those who lost their lives in the accident.

The family had been to Nedumbassery to see-off Ms. Suja, who is working as a nurse in Italy. According to relatives, Ms. Suja has been informed of the accident when her flight reached Doha and arrangements have been made for her return on Saturday itself. K. M. Mani, Mons Joseph (both MLAs), District collector Min Antony, district Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar and others supervised the rescue operations at Kidnagoor.

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