KOCHI: A couple from Ernakulam met with a tragic end on Saturday as the car in which they were travelling plunged into a pond located adjacent to the National Highway at Vaniyampara on the Thrissur-Palakkad stretch. Benny George, 55, and his wife Sheela, 51, residents of Eroor near Tripunithura, were returning from Coimbatore after attending a meeting when tragedy struck.
However, Sasi Kartha, the driver of the car, survived as he managed to wriggle out of the vehicle and cling to a pole on the sidewall of the pond.The mishap occurred at 2.30 am. Local people who rushed to the spot hearing the sound of the car plunging into the pond rescued Sasi Kartha and alerted the Peechi police. The driver, who sustained grievous injuries, is recuperating at a private hospital in Thrissur. Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Thrissur and Vadakkenchery fished out the car from the pond at 5 am and recovered the bodies.
“Benny and Sheela are functionaries of the Rotary Club and they were returning from Coimbatore after attending the Rotary Club’s South Zone meeting. The car veered off the road as the driver tried to avoid hitting a speeding truck. However, he lost control of the vehicle, leading to the mishap. The body of Sheela was found trapped inside the car. Divers were pressed into service to find Benny, whose body was recovered by 6.30 am,” said a police officer.
Meanwhile, the local residents alleged that the pond was 20 feet below the road level and there was no signboard to warn motorists. According to them, the contractor of the Mannuthy-Vadakkenchery six-lane NH toll way did not construct a protection wall to prevent such accidents.Benny is the managing director of Success Unlimited, Kochi, and the district secretary of Rotary Club International. He is a native of Vazhakulam near Muvattupuzha. He is survived by his mother Seline and daughter Aleena. The funeral will be held at St George church, Vazhakulam, at 2 pm on Sunday.