5 Dead as Speeding Volvo Hits Median, Topples - The New Indian Express

5 Dead as Speeding Volvo Hits Median, Topples

Published: 21st January 2014 08:38 AM

Last Updated: 21st January 2014 08:38 AM

Five passengers, including a six-year-old boy, were killed early on Monday when a Volvo bus hit a median and crashed on its side near Hoskote, 20 km from Bangalore.

Police attributed the accident to reckless driving, but the driver claimed he lost control when he tried to avoid hitting a man being chased by a dog.

The semi-sleeper airconditioned bus belonging to Rajesh Travels was coming to Bangalore from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. This is the third major accident involving Volvo buses in the last four months. Together, they have claimed 58 lives.

Those dead on Monday are: Anusha (24), who was five months pregnant, Vijayakumar (37), a Wipro employee, Prasad Chinnam (28), a software engineer with HP, Pradeep (25), also a software engineer and Manas Kumar (6). 

Most of the passengers were software engineers hailing from Andhra Pradesh and were travelling with their families to Bangalore, where they work.

Police said the bus left Nellore at 10.30 pm with 49 passengers. Around 5 am, it hit a median on National Highway 4 near Dandupalaya. The wheel mounted the median and the bus crashed on its left.

Eyewitnesses called ambulances and helped shift the victims to Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Medical College and Hospital, just 200 metres from the accident spot.

Police suspect B S Venkatappa (42) was driving recklessly. “He is defending himself saying a man and a dog came in the way,” said Ramesh Kumar, police inspector, Hoskote. Venkatappa and the second driver Kodandam (33) are being treated for minor injuries. Saddam, a cleaner who was also on board, will also be questioned. 

Trying to Find Out If the Bus Had Speed Governor, Say Police

Passenger Pradeep’s legs were severed and he died while being shifted from the hospital to another in Bangalore.

Police said the papers were in order: the bus had an inter-state permit, besides a fitness certificate, emission certificate and insurance and tax documents.

They said they are trying to find out if the bus had a speed governor.

Their Stories

Vijayakumar, who died in the accident, had joined Wipro three months ago and moved to Nigeria.

He came to India to spend New Year’s Day and Sankranti at his native village in Nellore.

His wife Padmaja is in the ICU and two of his children, Akshaya (4) and Athi (2) are being treated at the same hospital.

His mother called him after she heard of the accident. When he did not answer, she called his close friends.

“We then came to know about the tragedy,” said Bhagwan Reddy, a friend of the family.

Sai Phanindra, a software engineer with Cognizant, said the bus was speeding.

“The driver took some country short cuts and joined the highway at 1.30 am. I was nauseous because of the speed,” he told Express.

Mahendra (25), a farmer from Nellore, has sustained injuries on his right hand and a deep cut on his forehead.

“I was travelling with my sister Lakshmi to Bangalore as she had an appointment at Nimhans at 9 am on Monday. Now, both of us have landed in hospital,” he said. 

No Safety Instructions

Following two recent accidents, Karnataka had made it mandatory for Volvo bus operators to give safety instructions to passengers before every trip. But a passenger said the crew had not followed the procedure.

Transport Minister R Ramalinga Reddy visited the accident spot and the hospital. He announced a compensation of `1 lakh to the families of those dead and free treatment for the injured. He also promised an inquiry.

On October 30, 45 passengers travelling on a Bangalore-Hyderabad bus died after it met with an accident and caught fire near Mehbubnagar.

The Volvo was operated by Bangalore-based Jabbar Travels.

On November 14, seven people died after another Volvo met with an accident and went up in blazes near Haveri in northern Karnataka.

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