School bus barrelling down at 97 km/h to blame for Kerala bus tragedy that claimed nine lives

The accident killed nine people, including five students, and three passengers of the state corporation bus. The school physical training teacher who was accompanying the students also died. 

Published: 06th October 2022 01:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2022 07:24 PM   |  A+A-

Wreckage of a bus after a collision between a private tourist bus and a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus late on Wednesday night, at Vadakkenchery in Palakkad.(Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

VADAKKANCHERRY (Palakkad): A private school excursion from Ernakulam to Ooty turned into a tragedy after the over-speeding bus rammed into a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus from behind early morning on Thursday near Vadakkancherry in the Palakkad district.

The accident killed nine people. They included five students of Baselios Vidyanikethan Senior Secondary School, Mulanthuruthy and three passengers of the state corporation bus. The school physical education teacher who was accompanying the students also died in the accident.

Four other individuals were seriously injured in the accident, which took place at Anchumoorthymangalam near Vadakkencherry on the Palakkad-Thrissur National Highway 544 immediately after midnight.

Thirty people have sustained minor injuries. Among the dead were six males and three females.

The front portion of the tourist bus and the rear portion of the KSRTC bus were mangled in the accident. In the force of the accident, a portion of the KSRTC bus entered the tourist bus, which skidded off the road and turned turtle. Many students were rescued from beneath the bus after a crane arrived.

The tourist bus had 41 students of the Baselios Vidyanikethan Senior Secondary School, Mulanthuruthy in Ernakulam, going on an excursion to Ooty. The tourist bus hit the Kottarakkara-Coimbatore superfast bus from behind at Vadakkancherry immediately after midnight Wednesday.

Police said the bus was overspeeding (travelling at about 97 km/hour) when the accident happened.

The driver of the tourist bus, Joemon, who went missing from the spot, was produced before the police station in Vadakkencherry, Palakkad by the owner of the bus. He said that in the impact of the crash he was thrown off the bus and fell outside.

After receiving preliminary medical aid from a hospital, he left for Kottayam. His whereabouts are not known since then. Transport Minister Antony Raju blamed the driver of the tourist bus for the tragedy.

ALSO READ | Vadakkanchery bus tragedy: 'Our teacher died only because he went to tell the driver to slow down'

Eyewitnesses said that the tourist bus, which tried to overtake a car, lost control and hit the KSRTC bus. There were 49 passengers on the KSRTC bus. The tourist bus had five teachers and two employees of the bus, in addition to the 41 students. There were 26 boys and 16 girls on the bus.

The five students of the school who died in the accident were identified as: Anjana Ajith (17), Valiyakulam, Udaymperoor; C S Immanuel (17) Kanjirikkappilly, Arakunnam  -- both Plus-two students; and the three Class-X students Chris Vinter Born Thomas (15), Mullunthuruthy; Diya Rajesh (15), Paigirappilly, Mutlunthuruthy; and Elna Jose (15) Vandipetta, Thiruvaniyur.

The physical trainer teacher who died in the accident is Vishnu VK (33), Inchimala, Mullanthuruthy.

The deceased KSRTC passengers are identified as Rohith Raj (24), Nadathara, Thrissur; O Anoop (22), Shanthi Mandiram, Thrissur, and Deepu (25) of Thrissur.

Local administration minister MB Rajesh said that the post-mortem of the deceased has begun at the district hospital in Palakkad and at the Taluk hospital in Alathur. The injured have been admitted to the district hospital in Palakkad, Government Medical College-Thrissur,  Taluk hospital, Alathur, Crescent hospital in Alathur and Avitis hospital, Nenmara.

Sumesh, the driver of the KSRTC bus, said that they were at normal speed. "But the tourist bus was speeding and suddenly there was a crash. I somehow controlled the bus though my hands were shivering and managed to stop it," he recalled.

At the time of the accident, the students were watching a film on the bus, after having their dinner.

Meanwhile, the parents of some students said that the driver had just returned from a trip to Velankanni and he looked very tired. He had arrived at the school to take the students nearly two hours behind schedule.

The two drivers on the tourist bus have been identified as Joemon and Eldho.



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