Seven government school students, who hitched a ride on a mini-lorry to reach their school, died on the spot, while three others sustained injuries when the vehicle in which they were travelling was hit by an overspeeding private bus on the Pudukkottai-Aranthangi State highway at Valanadu near Pudukkottai on Wednesday.
The driver of the vehicle, who gave the students a lift, since government buses don’t usually stop to pick up the students with free passes, was also crushed to death.
A group of nine students, hailing from Vijaya Ragunathapuram village, 6 km from Ramasamy Deivanai Government HSS, Vallathiraikottai, were waiting for a bus at Kaikurichi around 9 am. However, the government bus driver, seeing the students skipped the stop as usual. Later, the students sought to hitch a ride from vehicles that were passing by. Arumugam (32), the driver of the mini-lorry gave them lift. When the vehicle reached Valanadu on the Aranthangi-Pudukkottai road, Arumugam swerved to avoid hitting a cycle. Suddenly, a bus of PLA Transports bound for Pudukkottai from Aranthangi, which was travelling at a high speed, hit the mini-lorry, which was thrown off the road and fell into a 20-feet deep ditch. Seven students and Arumugam died on the spot.