Miraculous escape

TIRUPATI Oct. 3. A group of 22 pilgrims from Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu, had a miraculous escape today when their mini-bus crashed through the parapet wall at a hairpin bend on the Tirumala ghat road and plunged into a 30-feet valley.

Thirteen persons, including six women and three children, suffered multiple fractures. The condition of one of them is stated to be critical.

The brakes of the mini-bus reportedly failed when it was negotiating the penultimate curve on the old ghat road, which has about 63 curves, most of them sharp u-turns. The driver is said to be absconding. The pilgrims, belonging to four families, had reached Tirumala last night and were returning to Tirupati after darshan this morning.

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