At least 19 people were killed in a collision between an omni bus en route to Kerala and a container truck on the outskirts of Tiruppur city in western Tamil Nadu early on Thursday.
Police said that the omni bus operated by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) was plying from Bengaluru to Ernakulam. The accident occurred on the National Highway near Thirumuruganpoondi around 3.40 a.m. as the truck coming from Kerala lost control and entered the opposite lane, resulting in the collision, police said.
The bus driver was killed on the spot. A total of 48 people were travelling on the bus, police said. Police personnel and Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Tiruppur North, Tiruppur South and Avinashi fire stations rushed to the spot for the rescue operations.
Over 20 passengers, who were rescued, were rushed to Tiruppur and Avinashi Government Hospitals as well as private hospitals in the vicinity. With some of the passengers grievously injured and few more bodies yet to be retrieved, the death toll is likely to increase, according to the police.
Tiruppur District Collector K. Vijayakarthikeyan visited the accident site on Thursday morning. He said that the Palakkad Collector had been intimated regarding the accident. “Most of the passengers were from Kerala,” he said. The deceased and the injured will be identified after cross-checking with the list of passengers, Mr. Vijayakarthikeyan said.
Thirumuruganpoondi police registered a case and efforts to nab the truck driver are on.
According to senior KSRTC officials in Kochi, the two driver-cum-conductors of the Garuda Volvo bus are among those reported dead.
Both of them are from Ernakulam district. While V.D. Gireesh hailed from Perumbavoor, V.R. Baiju is from Piravom, said Tajudeen Sahib, KSRTC’s District Transport Officer, Ernakulam, who is on his way to the accident spot. “The bus that belongs to Ernakulam depot began its trip from Bengaluru at 6.15 p.m. on Wednesday evening and was to arrive here at 5.50 a.m.,” he said.
Among the 48 passengers, 24 were to alight at Ernakulam, 19 in Thrissur and four at Palakkad, he said. The bus left Ernakulam on February 17 and was to return here on February 19. The trip was postponed by a day, Mr. Sahib said.