Special Correspondent

KURNOOL: In a ghastly road accident, 12 persons were killed on the spot when two vehicles collided near Panyam on the National Highway no. 18 in Kurnool district on Tuesday. All the victims were youths hailing from Nandyal in the age group of 18-25 years. They were on a picnic trip to Belum Caves.

According to reports, the two vehicles -- a Scorpio and a Maruti Omni -- collided head-on killing all the passengers in the Omni. The five passengers in the Scorpio sustained injuries. A group of youngsters from Saraswathi Nagar in Nandyal town set out in the ill-fated Maruti van for Belum Caves to enjoy the day after the Ramzan festival.

The Scorpio (KA 34 M 5202), belonging to Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy’s business group, was coming from Bellary towards Nandyal. The vehicle was proceeding to Kakanur near Bandi Atmakur transporting helpers for a temple function being sponsored by Mr. Reddy.

The scene presented a pathetic picture with scattered bodies in a pool of blood and others stuck to the mangled remains of the van. The police reached the spot immediately. The van (AP 28 AR 2104) running on authorised LPG kit was believed to have been overloaded and proceeding at a high speed.

The deceased were identified as Chand Basha, Hussain Basha, Sheiksha Vali, Bala Nagesh, Imran, Mastan, Namthulla, Mastan, Younus, Hamid, Mulla Sultan and Sheriff. Additional SP Ravindra Naik, Deputy SP Samay John Rao, RDO Madhavilatha and others visited the spot.

Hyderabad Special Correspondent writes: Transport Minister S. Vijayarama Raju while expressing grief over the tragedy said the department’s preliminary inquiry had revealed that ‘uncontrolled speed’ was the cause of the accident.

The Minister said he had already ordered stringent action against those responsible. Mr. Raju welcomed the announcement of relief of Rs.25,000 each by Housing Minister Shilpa Mohan Reddy and Nandyal MP S.P.Y. Reddy to the victims’ families.

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