A 62-year-old woman was killed and five others including four children injured, when a crane crashed into a school compound wall on Peters Road, Royapettah, on Friday.

At around 4.30 p.m., a crane (registration number AP10 AE5691) owned and operated by Ramesh, was headed towards General Patters Road. While passing Monahan Girls Higher Secondary School, Ramesh allegedly felt dizzy and lost control of the vehicle. The crane swerved to the left and its front arm crashed through the compound wall of the school. The veering crane also ran over nearby fruit vendor Adi Lakshmi. The wall collapsed on four children and a staff member who were walking out of the school building. Adi Lakshmi died on the spot.

Angry locals caught hold of Ramesh and beat him up. Police personnel then arrived and rescued the children, staff and the driver and sent them to hospital for treatment. A case has been booked against the crane driver under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt to others) and 304 (A) (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. “Ramesh will be arrested after treatment,” a senior police officer said.

P. Soundar, a resident of the locality who witnessed the accident, said: “At one moment the crane was moving forward and then suddenly it lost control. I have been seeing the elderly woman who sits near the wall and sell fruits for over 20 years. I was stunned to see her run over by the vehicle.”

Adi Lakshmi’s nephew, Kumar, said she has a son and two daughters. “She was living with her son. She was beloved in the neighbourhood,” he said.

Seven-year-old Devadarshini, a class II student and 12-year-old Mumthazir Mehdi, a class VII student were admitted with injuries at Government Royapettah Hospital. Two other students, Amudhavalli (14) and Naveen Kumar (13) were taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Suresh, Amudhavalli’s father and a relative of Devadarshini’s, said the children were returning home when the accident occurred. “Their teacher called and informed us. Both of them are active girls and good at academics,” he said. Family members of Mumthazir Mehdi who gathered at the hospital were relieved to hear he was fine. “He is very interested in sports and is also good at studies,” said his uncle. Moses, a teacher at the school, who was at Royapettah Hospital, blamed the accident on the lack of speed-breakers.

“There are no speed-breakers outside the school and no traffic police official is posted there. A lot of accidents occur as it is a main road. Chennai Corporation vehicles also often occupy the road by the side of the flyover, making it unsafe for children to walk there,” he said.

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