Seven persons were killed after a private bus rammed a stationary State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) bus at Kallamedu on the Tiruchi-Madurai national highway early on Saturday.

Among the seven dead, M. Ramanathan (50), R. Tamizhvanan (45) both from Chennai; Subbammal (70) and Bhoomadevi (75), both from Reddiapatti in Virudhunagar district, were passengers of the SETC bus. K. Kalanidhi (65); P. Krishnan (36), manager of REPCO Bank in Punalur; and K. Vinodkumar (30) were on the private bus.

Police sources here said the Tuticorin-bound SETC bus from Vellore suffered a breakdown on the highway and was parked on the roadside. The SETC bus crew were making arrangements for the passengers' onward journey by other government buses passing that way and many passengers had left.

Four passengers, including two women, were standing close to the stationary vehicle when the Madurai-bound private bus from Chennai rammed it from behind, killing them on the spot. The SETC bus overturned.

Three occupants of the private bus, including its cleaner Vinodkumar, who sustained injuries, succumbed on way to hospital.

The driver of the private bus fled the spot.