TIRUNELVELI: Nine persons, including two children, were killed and 33 others were injured when a private bus overturned near Panagudi here on Friday.
According to police, the Volvo bus of Universal Bus Company left Karaikal around 9.30 pm on Thursday night and was heading towards Thiruvananthapuram with more than 45 passengers on board. Five of the deceased were from Kerala.
When the bus was at Pillakottaiparai near Panagudi around 5.30 am, driver John Bosco, from Nagapattinam, lost control and the bus hit the median and turned turtle. The passengers on the left side bore the brunt of the accident as it fell on the left and nine of them were crushed to death.
The dead were Anjalo (28) from Gujarat and his sister Anjali (20), Mary Liza (27), from Kollam, and her one-and-a-half-year-old son Altroy, Vinod (30) and his wife Ancy (27) from Thiruvananthapuram. Suji (6), son of Leo, Neyyattinkara, Jimmy (33) from Thoothoor and Edwin Michael Raj from Velliyavilai in Kanyakumari district.
Thirty-three others, including the driver, were injured and rushed to the Kanyakumari Government Medical College Hospital. The bodies will be handed over to relatives after an autopsy. A medical team from Kerala has reached the hopital.
Tirunelveli District Collector M Karunakaran, DIG T S Anbu and SP V Vikraman rushed to the spot and conducted an inquiry. Vikraman told Express that investigation revealed the driver fell asleep at the wheel, which resulted in the accident. Of the nine dead, Vinod and Ancy were newly married.
Panagudi Police registered a case under Sections 279 (rash driving or driving on a public way), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 and 304 (a) of the Idian Penal Code and are investigating.