Van driver attended to snag right on the national highway

The careless halting of a vehicle that had a breakdown right on the four-lane national highway has claimed three lives as a speeding lorry rammed from behind a stationary van carrying tourists from Sattur near Kayathaar, about 20 km from here, in the early hours of Friday.

The deceased were identified as O. Sabari (21), M. Siva (20) and K. Rajkumar (28), all from Perumal Temple Street in Sattur in Virudhunagar district. The condition of three of the eight injured in the mishap is said to be critical.

A group of labourers and autorickshaw drivers, after visiting Kanyakumari and a few tourist spots in Kerala as part of their Diwali celebrations, were returning home in a van.

When the vehicle reached Rajaputhukkudi near Kayathaar, the pipe taking diesel from the fuel tank to the engine got cut and the van stopped right on the four-lane national highway around 4 a.m.

While the occupants were in their deep sleep, van driver Karuppasamy (45) tried to rectify the damage without moving the vehicle to the service road.

Even as Mr. Karuppasamy was attending to the problem, a speeding lorry, proceeding from Tirunelveli to Namakkal, rammed the stationary van from behind to injure all occupants of the van, including Mr. Karuppasamy.

Though police rushed the victims to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, Sabari, Siva and Rajkumar breathed their last on the way to the hospital while condition of Karuppasamy, Kaliraj and Maruthupandi, also from Sattur, is said to be “critical.”

The Kayathaar police are on the lookout for the lorry driver, who went underground after the mishap.