Speeding, faulty body design led to bus accident in Kochi: MVD probe

Official says none of the AI cameras on the Edappally-Aroor stretch were functional and the back tyres of the bus were nearly worn out
A team of MVD officials, led by Ernakulam RTO K Manoj, inspects the vehicle involved in the accident on Monday evening
A team of MVD officials, led by Ernakulam RTO K Manoj, inspects the vehicle involved in the accident on Monday evening Photo | Akhil K S

KOCHI: A preliminary probe by the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) into Sunday’s accident at Madavana has found that a combination of factors like speeding, faulty body design and road issues led to the bus tipping over and falling fatally on top of a motorcyclist.

“The investigation is progressing as none of the AI cameras on the stretch was functional. Based on eyewitness accounts and the condition of the vehicle, we’ve arrived at these findings. The back tyres of the bus were nearly worn out,” a senior MVD official told TNIE.

The sleeper bus, belonging to Kallada Travels, was proceeding to Varkala, from Bengaluru, when it rammed into the traffic signal post at Madavana Junction and overturned after the driver applied sudden brakes upon the signal turning red.

The unfortunate bike rider was waiting at the signal. At least 12 others, all passengers of the bus, were injured.

The bus was travelling at a speed higher than the permissible limit of 40 kmph near the junction, on the straight Edappally-Aroor stretch of NH 66. The exact speed, though, is yet to be determined in the absence of any CCTV footage. Also, the vehicle had no camera or tracking system. Due to the sudden braking, the back portion rose slightly due to inertia and hit the median, which caused the bus to overturn, the official said, citing the primary probe.

Relatives console Jijo Sebastian’s wife Riya after his mortal remains were brought to Jayalakshmi Silks, where he worked, for public to pay homage
Relatives console Jijo Sebastian’s wife Riya after his mortal remains were brought to Jayalakshmi Silks, where he worked, for public to pay homage Photo | A Sanesh

“The 2016-model bus was registered in Nagaland. It was converted into a sleeper carriage, violating the standard norms. For instance, the sleepers were fitted at a height of nine to 10 feet from the floor,” he added.

Two other factors which the MVD suspect had a role in the mishap are the bad condition of the road there (uneven surface) and driver fatigue.

“There were two drivers on the bus. Palpandy, a native of Tenkasi, was behind the wheels. The bus, which started from Bengaluru around 7pm, was supposed to reach Varkala by 10am, when the mishap occurred. The bus was running late by around four to five hours,” the official said.

Minister seeks report

Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar has demanded a detailed probe report on the accident. As part of the same, a team of MVD officials led by Ernakulam Regional Transport Officer K Manoj inspected the accident site and the sleeper bus on Monday evening.

Technicians from the bus manufacturing company (Ashok Leyland) accompanied them to ascertain the possible reasons for the accident.

Jijo’s funeral today

Kochi: The funeral service for Jijo Sebastian will be held on Tuesday at the St Alphonsa Church, Uluppuni, near Wagamon in Idukki. His mortal remains were handed over to the family after postmortem at the Ernakulam Government Medical College Hospital.

“The body was kept for public homage at Jayalakshmi Silks, where Jijo was employed. Later, it was taken to his hometown of Wagamon,” said one of his friends. Meanwhile, the accused in the case — Tenkasi native Palpandy, the driver of the bus — has been remanded and is under police surveillance after being hospitalised.

“A case under section 304 A was registered against him for negligent and rash driving causing death,” said a police officer. Palpandy has been hospitalised after he sustained a spine injury in the accident. “After recording his arrest, we took him to the hospital for a check-up. It was found that he was suffering from a spine injury,” a cop said.

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