COIMBATORE: Eight people died and 26 were injured when a state RTC bus en route to Coonoor from Ooty fell into a 100-metre gorge in Ketti Valley near Manthada in The Nilgiris on Thursday.
The accident happened when the driver -- Rajkumar (40) -- tried to overtake another vehicle and lost control.
All passengers were thrown off the bus, said local residents who initiated the rescue operation.
The vehicle was completely damaged in the accident.
While the driver escaped with minor injuries, the conductor L Prakash was admitted to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) in a critical condition. As many as 19 passengers were referred to CMCH for treatment.
Almesh (26) died en route to the hospital. Other passengers who died include Nandhakumar (36), Prabhakaran (50) from Kolakombai; Dinesh (32) from Coonoor; Shanthakumari (55), Jaishree (49) from Bengaluru; Dharman (64) from Davis Dale in Ooty; and Moorthy (35) from Ooty.
The heavy rain the area hampered rescue operation by police personnel and emergency responders. Traffic from Coonoor to Ooty was diverted to Kotagiri to ensure ambulances had a free passage to and from the accident site. Ketti police said that investigation was on to ascertain the cause of the accident.