MADURAI: Twelve school students and five teachers suffered simple and multiple injuries when the school van, in which they were travelling, toppled after colliding head on with a private mofussil bus bound for Karaikudi from Madurai near Chittampatti four-lane national highway on Tuesday.
Police said that the incident occurred at around 4.45 p.m. On information, Melur Deputy Superintendent of Police KR. Vijayabaskar and a team rushed to the spot along with ambulance vehicles and rescued the victims. As the van had toppled, it took time for the rescue operation, police added.
Traffic was paralysed on the highway for sometime. All the injured were admitted to Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre.
Hospital authorities said that the van driver Sivakumar suffered fracture on the left thigh, while teacher Philomina was stated to be serious but stable.
The children, all in the age group of seven and 13 years, studied in Le Chatelier School, Melur.
They had suffered injuries and were undergoing treatment.
Superintendent of Police M. Manohar told reporters that the van driver used to pick up and drop the students and teachers at different points in and around Chittampatti and Kodikulam Pass, among other places, daily. It is alleged that the van driver came on the wrong side of the road and collided head on against the private bus. After detailed inquiry strict action would be taken, he asserted.
Regular users of the four-lane highway complained that vehicles in the local areas used the wrong side of the road, which took the drivers coming on the right side of the road by surprise. It was worse during nights as lack of sign boards and poor visibility on intersections added to the confusion, they added.
The school van driver was at fault as he came on the wrong side, it had come to light in preliminary inquiry, a police officer said.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Madurai Range) P. Balasubramanian said that stringent action would be taken against erring drivers and appealed to the drivers to stick to lane discipline on national highway stretch.