GUNTUR/TIRUPATI:It was a grim Saturday for Guntur district when 11 of its residents lost their lives in two separate ghastly incidents.
While five Intermediate students met with a watery grave in the Krishna Canal at Chilumuru in Kollur mandal in Guntur district in the afternoon, six of the 11 pilgrims on way to Tirumala were killed in a road accident at Sitarampet in Yerpadu mandal, near Tirupati.
According to police, a group of nine boys in age group of 16-17 years, all pursuing senior Intermediate course at Nehru Niketan Junior College on Bose Road in Tenali town, went on an excursion to Chilumuru after writing their pre-final exams.
At around 3 pm, five boys got into the water at a spot where it was said to be deep and the current strong. None of them reportedly knew swimming and were immediately drowned. Their four classmates, who stayed on the bank, raised a hue and cry attracting the attention of the passersby. The latter in turn alerted the police, who rushed to the spot and tried to rescue the stricken students. But by then it was too late and all the five students had breathed their last. After much effort, the police managed to retrieve their bodies.
The deceased were identified as K Mahesh Babu, V Eswar, T Bala Siva Ganesh, B Rupesh and K Vamsi. All were said to be residents of Tenali town. A case has been registered and further investigations are on.
A report from Tirupati says in a gruesome accident took place in Chittoor district in the early hours of Saturday killing six persons and leaving five others injured.
The 11-member pilgrim party is on their way to Tirumala when the mishap occurred. The victims belong to two families and are said to be close relatives. All are natives of Gangireddypalle village in Dachepalle mandal of Guntur district.
The incident took place when a truck hit the SUV in which the pilgrims were travelling, near Seetharampet in Yerpedu mandal on Naidupet-Puthalapattu road.
According to Yerpedu SI E Mallikarjuna Rao, the victims were on a pilgrimage to Tirumala for tonsuring the head of a one-year-old baby.
The boy lost both his parents, but had a miraculous escape, without any injuries.
After hitting the SUV while negotiating a curve, the semi-trailer truck went off the road, leaving a mangled SUV on the road.
The deceased were identified as Venkateswarulu (60), Koteswaramma (48), her son Tirupal (29), his wife Bhargavi (24), Nagaraju (17) and SUV driver Khazawali (25).
The injured were rushed to SVR Ruia government general hospital in Tirupati, where the condition of Gopalakrishnaiah is said to be critical.
Meanwhile, traffic on the busy road was disrupted for some time. Police from Srikalahasti, Yerpedu, Renigunta and Tirupati rushed to the spot and regulated the traffic after removing the mangled SUV from the road.
The bodies were sent to Srikalahasti area hospital for autopsy. Yerpedu police registered a case and took up investigation.