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5 killed in accident; child missing

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Watery grave:The vehicle lifted out of the Meenachil river, near Pala, on Saturday
Watery grave:The vehicle lifted out of the Meenachil river, near Pala, on Saturday

Staff Reporter

Vehicle returning from Nedumbassery airport plunges into river

KOTTAYAM: Five persons, including two pedestrians, were killed and a three-year-old child went missing when a utility vehicle hit pedestrians and fell into the Meenachil river at Kidangoor, near Pala, around 5.45 a.m. on Saturday.

The police said C.V. James of Kidangoor (South) and some of his family members were returning home in the vehicle after seeing off his wife at the Nedumbassery airport. The driver lost control of the vehicle near the bridge, close to the Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple.

Mathai, 43 and Mahesh, 31, of Kidangoor who were walking on the road were killed on the spot. Subin, 16, and Anu, 11, two of Mr. James' three children, and his sister Mary, 58, of Chittadi, Palakkad, drowned. Ayona, daughter of Mr. James' brother Joemon, is missing. The district authorities have employed professional divers to search for her.

Mr. James, his nephew Johnlee, 9, and the driver of the vehicle, Lileesh, escaped with minor injuries. The accident occurred less than a kilometre from Mr. James' house.

The police said the driver could have fallen asleep or he would have been speeding.

However, he said he lost control over the vehicle on being blinded by the high-beam headlights of a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran declared a financial assistance Rs.10,000 each for the relatives of those killed.

Relatives said Mr. James' wife, Suja, working as a nurse in Italy, had been informed of the accident when her flight landed at Doha and arrangements had been made for her return on Saturday.

K.M. Mani and Mons Joseph, MLAs, District Collector Mini Antony and Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar supervised the rescue operations.

Accident in Kozhikode

Staff Reporter writes from Kozhikode:

Two persons were killed in separate accidents in Kozhikode district on Saturday. Koya Hassan, 52, a newspaper agent, was killed when a pick-up vehicle and an autorickshaw collided at Kannancherry, causing the autorickshaw's fuel tank to catch fire.

Flames engulfed the autorickshaw. The auto driver and four other travellers in it escaped with injuries. In another accident at Koduvally Madrasa Bazaar, a car rammed three motor bikes, killing one youth and injuring two others.

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