Kerala

And they never returned to their waiting parents

The remains of the school bus that was crushed as a tree fell on it nearNellimattom on Friday.

The remains of the school bus that was crushed as a tree fell on it nearNellimattom on Friday.  

An hour before when they were aboard the No:1 bus from Vidya Vikas School at Karukadom in Kothamangalam, the children had no inkling of what destiny had in store for them.

It was all over in the blink of an eye, as a strong wind brought down a huge tree, which landed with a thud over the ill-fated school bus near Kothamangalam on Friday.

An hour before when they were aboard the No:1 bus from Vidya Vikas School at Karukadom in Kothamangalam, the children had no inkling of what destiny had in store for them.

Five of them never reached home to their waiting parents, while seven others ended up with injuries of various degrees in hospitals. On their way back from school, most of the children were exhausted and deep in sleep, from which some of them never woke up.

School Principal Rajeshwari Jimmy ended up in sobs as she struggled to respond to the queries posed by mediapersons. “We just cannot reconcile to the fact that those dear children will never return to us,” she said through tears.

Heart-wrenching scenes were witnessed at the hospitals where the students were rushed to from the accident site. The parents of the children who died were inconsolable.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel rushed to devastating scenes, to recover from which many of them will take a long time. “A mammoth tree was lying right across the road crumbling the bus into a “V” shape. We could rescue a few using our tools, but we needed more people and crane to rescue those trapped right under,” said C.A. Alexander, station officer of Muvattupuzha fire station.

Local people lend the Fire and Rescue Services personnel all help and took the lead in rushing the injured students to nearby hospitals. They also immediately contacted the Kerala State Electricity Board officials and asked them to cut the power supply as it was an 11-kV line that passed along the accident site at Nellimattom.

“The accident would have been tragic beyond our imagination had the supply not been cut immediately after the accident. For, the tree brought down power cables before smashing through the bus,” said Sijo, an eyewitness.

The local people’s ire was trained at authorities who they alleged had turned a blind eye to the repeated complaints about the danger posed by the tree.

T.U. Kuruvilla, MLA, also aired the view soon after the accident.

Meanwhile, traffic along the busy Kothamangalam-Munnar route remained disrupted for more than four hours following the accident.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 1:30:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/and-they-never-returned-to-their-waiting-parents/article7360157.ece

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