A Volvo bus of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (Kerala RTC), which was heading from Bengaluru to Ernakulam in Kerala, met with an accident in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur district in the early hours of Thursday. Nineteen people, including the driver and conductor of the bus, died in the accident, while several have been injured.
The incident took place around 3.15 am in Tirupur's Avinashi when a lorry rammed into the Kerala RTC bus. According to initial reports, the lorry hit the median and the container it was carrying detached and fell on the bus. The bus has been completely damaged in the accident, especially the right side of the vehicle.
Tirupur Superintendent of Police had earlier informed that more than 17 bodies have been recovered and 22 people are injured. According to the officer, two or three people, who stuck in the bus, were rescued later.
Most of the deceased were from Kerala, including Thrissur, Palakkad and Ernakulam districts. The Kerala RTC bus left Bengaluru at 8 pm on Wednesday and was supposed to reach Ernakulam at 7 am on Thursday.
"There were 48 passengers on the bus. Twenty-five were travelling to Thrissur, others to Ernakulam and Palakkad. Conductor of the bus died. Those who are injured are in critical condition," Thajudheen, District Transport Officer, Ernakulam, Kerala RTC, said.
The Tirupur Collector said that the accident took place early morning. "The container, which hit the bus, was carrying tiles. Recovered bodies have been sent for postmortem. About 17 to 18 bodies have been recovered, the final number is yet to be determined," said Tirupur Collector.
Speaking to TNM, Mahesh, state general secretary of Kerala RTC employees union, who is at the Avinashi hospital, said, "The postmortem procedures haven't started yet. No relatives have reached yet. Transport Commissioner and other few Kerala RTC employees are here. We are informing the families."
Kerala Transport Minister AK Saseendran told Manorama News channel that the passengers who have been injured have been rushed to the hospital. A detailed report on what caused the accident is being sought from the Kerala RTC Chairman and the Managing Director, he said. A helpline number in Palakkad — 9495099910 — has been set up.
According to the Tirupur Collector, private vehicles were arranged to take passengers to the hospitals in Avinashi and Coimbatore.
The driver of the container lorry is reportedly absconding.