Vadakkancherry bus tragedy: 'Our teacher died only because he went to tell the driver to slow down'
"We were watching a recently released Malayalam movie on the bus TV. Since the bus was going at a high speed, our sir went to the driver to tell him to reduce the speed...," a student recalled.
MULANTHURUTHY (ERNAKULAM): The students of Baselios Vidyanikethan Senior Secondary School, Mulanthuruthy in Ernakulam were all excited ahead of Thursday's excursion to Ooty. Little did they know that tragedy was lurking around the corner. Early on Thursday morning, their overspeeding bus rammed into a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus from behind near Vadakkancherry. Nine lives -- most of them young -- were lost.
"This is not the first time the school has taken the kids on an excursion. It was after a gap of two years that they got this opportunity to go on such an excursion again. The students were all excited about the trip, but we never expected the trip would end up in a tragedy. We lost our kids," said a disconsolate Sarala, helper at the school.
Blessen Binosh, a 10th standard student, was on the bus and had a narrow escape. He was in utter shock and inconsolable when he reached the school to pay tributes to his late friends, five of them, and physical education teacher.
"We may not have lost our friends, and Vishnu sir, if the bus driver had reduced the speed of the vehicle. Our sir (Vishnu VK) was sitting with us and he died only because he went to the driver to tell him to reduce the speed of the bus. We might not have lost our sir and friends if the vehicle had been travelling at a normal speed. It was the rash driving that ended in the tragic accident," said Blessen, tears rolling down his cheeks. He also suffered a hairline fracture on his left hand.
He said he, along with Abel Philip Paul, Justin Thomas and two other friends, along with the PT teacher Vishnu sir, were sitting in the last row of the bus when the accident occurred.
"We were watching a recently released Malayalam movie on the bus TV. Since the bus was going at a high speed, our sir went to the driver to tell him to reduce the speed. Just a few seconds after that, the bus crashed into the KSRTC bus. It was difficult to understand what was happening around us. Everything was dark inside as we couldn't see anything. It took a moment to understand that our bus had met with an accident," said Blessen, who managed to get out of the bus after breaking the glass.
He said some of the students who were sitting in the front row also warned the bus driver to slow down. "Some of them were really frightened. Though they asked the driver to reduce the speed, he said he has the experience," said the parent of Abel Philip Paul, another kid who had a narrow escape in the accident.
Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended upon Mulanthuruthy, a suburb of Kochi, with people from all walks of life converging at the school compound on hearing the news of the tragic accident.
Among those who arrived to pay their respects were Ministers PA Mohamad Riyas, Antony Raju, Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan, Thomas Chazhikadan, Member of Parliament, MLAs Anoop Jacob, PV Srinijin, K Babu, CPM State Committee Member S Satish and District Congress Committee President Mohammad Shias.