The car crashed into the diesel tank of a truck laden with casuarina logs, on the Vriddhachalam-Sithalur bypass road.

In a gory accident involving a car and a truck on the Vriddhachalam—Sithalur bypass road in the early hours on Friday, five of the six passengers travelling in the car were charred to death.

One person sitting in the rear seat had a miraculous escape but suffered severe burns. All the victims were residents of Ayipettai in Kurinjipadi block.

The deceased were identified as S.Balaguru (44), owner-cum-driver of the car, R.Mayavel (45), Keezhur panchayat former president, R.Anandan (27) alias Dhananjeyan, S.Shanmugavel (44) and V.Rajadurai (40). The one who survived is G.Rajendran (40), a Neyveli Lignite Corporation employee.

Mayavel was keen on admitting his children in a residential school at Namakkal. He took the others, including Anandan, whose niece was studying there, along in the car. Before going to the school they made a trip to Hogenakkal.

On the way back, they went to a school and made enquiries about the admission procedure. At the Sithalur bypass, the car crashed into the diesel tank of a truck laden with casuarina logs. In the impact, the tank burst and the car and the truck went up in flames. The air-conditioned system in the car and the wooden logs aggravated the fire.

The burning logs fell on the car, making it difficult for the passengers to escape. However, Mr Rajendran managed to get out by breaking the windshield. Noticing the car and the truck ablaze, a passerby alerted the police and Fire Service personnel.

But before help reached them all the five were charred beyond recognition. He was initially taken to the Vriddhachalam government hospital and then referred to Chennai hospital.

Divisional Fire Officer A.Kumarasamy said it took over two hours to extinguish the flames. Mr Kumarasamy said Mr. Rajendran identified the bodies by recalling the place the passengers occupied.

While the truck driver, Velmurugan, surrendered at the Vriddhachalam police station, the cleaner is absconding.

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