Six persons were killed and nine others injured when a lorry carrying them fell into a wayside drainage at Punnamoodu-Iruthode on the Punalur-Rajagiri Road near Konni on Saturday night.
According to police, the incident occurred around 10.45 pm. The lorry was carrying workers from Punalur for tarring work at Rajagiri Estate and the driver reportedly lost control over the vehicle that ultimately plunged into the drainage on the wayside, police said.
A bitumen mixing machine was also attached to the lorry and it fell over the workers, killing four of them on the spot. Local people rushed to the spot and started rescue work. The bitumen mixer and the lorry were later pulled out of the drainage with an earthmover.
Two seriously injured persons were rushed to the nearest private hospital where they breathed their last.
The deceased were identified as Ravindran (46), Ratheesh (27), Radhakrishna Pillai (42), Asokan (25), all four from Muthuvilakkad near Sasthamkottah, Thampi (30) of Vazhamuttom near Pathanamthitta and Manu (23) from Nangyarkulangara near Haripad.
The bodies have been sent for post-mortem at Pathanamthitta General Hospital.
The injured workers have been identified as Rajendran, Mahesh, Damodaran, Sureshkumar, Dileep, Anilkumar, Babu, Unni and Thulaseedharan Pillai. Of them, Rajendran has been referred to Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College Hospital and Babu to Government Medical College Hospital at Alappuzha. All the other injured have been admitted to Pathanamthitta General Hospital.
Ministers visit hospital
Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran and Labour Minister P.K.Gurudasan visited the injured at the Pathanamthitta General Hospital on Sunday. District Collector S.Lalithambika also accompanied the Ministers to the hospital. Mr. Gurudasan said the government would extend the best available treatment to all the injured.
Rs 10,000 emergency relief
Meanwhile, the State government has sanctioned an emergency relief worth Rs 10,000 each to the bereaved family of all the six persons killed in the accident.
Konni police have registered a case. Deputy Superintendent of Police at Adoor, V.Ajith, assisted by Konni Circle Inspector, Vinod Pillai, is investigating the case. The lorry owner, Sajeevan from Punalur, who was driving the vehicle, is reportedly absconding, police said.
Pathanamthitta Regional Transport Officer John Varghese inspected the accident site on Sunday morning.