TIRUCHY: Over 30 students of a private school and a college run by the same group were injured when the bus they were travelling in toppled near Palakkarai on Tiruchy-Chennai bypass on Thursday morning.
While parents of the children alleged overcrowding and rash driving as reason behind the mishap, onlookers said that accident occurred when the driver tried to avoid an uncovered pit.
According to the police, the bus belonging to Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Matric Higher Secondary School had 73 students on board, picked up from nearby villages, including Perali, Elamanur, Panangur and Ilaya Samudhram. Around 8.30 am, when the bus was near Palakkarai on Tiruchy-Chennai bypass road, the driver, N Rajali Raja (52) tried to negotiate a sharp turn at high speed, losing control over the vehicle.
The bus swerved for a few moments before toppling and landing on its side, with the students still trapped inside. While passers-by immediately launched a rescue operation, the parents of the students too rushed to the spot and joined in.
Sources said that 35 students sustained various degrees of injuries, with Srikanth (16), a plus one student, Karikalan (14), a class nine student, fracturing their legs and Manikandan (15) sustaining cut injuries. B Sarala (30), a second year MA student of Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Arts and Science College, also sustained cut injuries.
On information, the Perambalur police rushed the students to Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College Hospital, where Srikanth, Karikalan, Manikandan and B Sarala were admitted. The other 31 students were sent back home after first aid. Later, the driver, who absconded after the accident, was nabbed and a case was registered. The parents claimed that the staff of the hotel, owned by the same group, rushed all the injured kids to hospital, without allowing them to check on their wards.
K Munusamy, Chief Education Officer, said, “The Inspector of Matriculation Schools has been directed to submit a detailed report about the condition of the vehicle and whether the driver had overcrowded the bus. Once the report comes in, we will initiate departmental action.”
Meanwhile, Perambalur Collector (in-charge) S Meenakshi issued a show case notice to the authorities of Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Matric Higher Secondary School, directing them to submit a detailed report and explanation about the accident.