ANDHRA PRADESH

Eight killed in road mishaps near Tirupati

TIRUPATI, MARCH. 3. Less than a week after three road accidents on the same day in the district, eight persons were killed and several others hurt in four road mishaps in and around Tirupati on Wednesday.

Tragedy struck a private bus in which 45 pilgrims from Madanapalle were proceeding towards Kasumuru in Nellore district to take part in the `Rottela panduga,' observed on the eve of Muharram. Around 3.30 a.m., when the bus reached Bhakarapet, 25 km. from here, it swerved to a side while negotiating a turn, rolled down the 50-feet deep valley and turned turtle. While Bibijan (53), her daughter-in-law Shahina (32) and another woman, Hayyadbi (54) died on the spot, a four-month old boy, Mubarak, died while undergoing treatment at the Madanapalle Government hospital.

Twenty-seven of the seriously injured were admitted to the Ruia hospital here. The condition of five of them is stated to be critical. Rescue operations are still on.

In another mishap near Peruru on the new Tirupati bypass road, a Tamil Nadu State RTC bus rammed into a bullock cart from behind, resulting in the death of three persons. The mishap occurred when the bus, coming from Chidambaram, tried to overtake the cart, but rammed into it on sighting a speeding lorry on the opposite side. Due to the impact, the first seat of the bus caved in, killing on the spot the bus conductor and a passenger, Siva Reddy, who runs a poultry business in Vijayawada. Muniratnam Chetty, an ex-serviceman, died on the way to Ruia hospital.

Almost at the same spot, a scooterist and his wife suffered minor injuries when a tractor swerved to a side on seeing RTO officials at a distance, and hit the scooter in the process. It may be recalled five pilgrims from Karnataka perished on the same spot a few days back, when the Tata Safari in which they were travelling collided with a stationary tractor trailer parked on roadside.

In another mishap near Settipalli on the Renigunta road later in the evening, a motorcyclist died on the spot when an RTC express bus coming from Srikalahasti knocked down the bike near Tiruchanur cross (3rd mile). The pillion-rider was admitted to Ruia hospital.

At Ruia hospital

Heartrending scenes were witnessed on Wednesday at the Ruia hospital, when the victims of the major road mishaps that took place near Tirupati were admitted. There was clamour over with the hospital management trying its best to accommodate as many patients as possible, despite its inadequate facilities. With the news on the accident spreading, relatives of the Madanapalle-based pilgrim party started descending on the hospital right from afternoon.