TIRUCHY: The death toll in the Thuvarankurichi accident has risen to 10 with 45-year-old Natarajan declared dead on arrival at Tiruchy Government Hospital. The devotional trip turned into a tragedy for V Vaithilingam’s family. He lost four family members in the accident that took place at around 11.20 pm in Thuvarankurichi, located in the outskirts of the city. The accident occurred when the van in which the 15 persons were travelling hit a stationary borewell vehicle on the Tiruchy-Dindigul bypass. The driver of the borewell vehicle has been arrested.
The 15-member group set off on their journey on Wednesday afternoon in a Tempo Traveller, said police. At the wheel was S Rakesh (33), who had been driving from Arulvaimozhi with the group on a trip to Tirupati and then to Rameswaram before returning home.
The trip was for the benefit of V Eashwaran, who had returned from abroad. Vaithilingam (79) and the 14 others had dinner at Melur in Madurai at 8.40 pm and set off for Tirupati through Tiruchy by taking a turn near Viralimalai.
After crossing Thuvarankurichi and nearing Muranimalai, the van took the service road and was travelling at a speed of at least 100 kmph when the accident occurred.
S Chandrashekaran (38), the driver of the borewell vehicle, was gradually slowing down and trying to bring it to the side when the Tempo Traveller hit it from behind at the end of the service road entering the National Highway 38 near Thuvarankurichi.
The impact crushed sleeping family members in the vehicle. The front portion of the Tempo Traveller was badly damaged and the rear of the borewell vehicle smashed.
Rakesh managed to escape the full impact of the accident by jumping out of the vehicle at the last minute. He suffered minor bruises.
Employees of a transport depot close to the accident site were the first to reach the scene to try to rescue victims.
Ambulances of the 108 service were rushed from nearby places, including Tiruchy GH. Fire services personnel also reached the spot. The injured were the driver, Rakesh, Aiyyapan’s daughter Vaishnavi (20), Natarajan’s wife Dhannamal (43), Sankar Kumar’s wife Vela Dev i(35) and their son Karthik (12). They were rushed to Tiruchy GH. Police arrested bore well vehicle driver Chandrasehkaran from Namakkal.