57 killed as bus falls into gorge in Telangana

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Sep 2018 08:15:30



The bus, carrying more than 90 passengers, met with the accident when the driver reportedly lost control at a speed breaker

AN overcrowded State-run bus swerved off the road and hurtled down the hillside into a valley in Telangana’s Jagtial district Tuesday, killing 57 people and wounding around 30 others in one of the worst highway tragedies in the State, police said. The deceased included 36 women and five children. Some of the victims were pilgrims returning to Jagtial from the temple town of Kondagattu after offering prayers at the famous Hanuman temple.

The accident involving the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) bus occurred on the ghat section of the road near Shanivarapet village, about 200 km from State capital Hyderabad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the tragedy as “shocking beyond words”.
Jagtial Superintendent of Police Sindhu Sharma told PTI over phone “57 persons died in the accident. Around 30 others, who were injured, are undergoing treatment in different hospitals.”

Over 90 people were travelling in the bus and were proceeding to Jagtial town when the accident occurred around 11 am, police said. The driver of the bus was among the deceased. Locals, who were the first to pull out the survivors and bodies, alleged that the road that was earlier closed some time back over safety issues was reopened at the insistence of TRTC officials to save on fuel as it brought down the travel distance between Kondagattu and Jagtial.

A local resident claimed the bus was overcrowded. A TSRTC official said the vehicle had the seating capacity for 54 people. Police and revenue officials rescued the injured with the help of locals and rushed them to hospitals. They also pulled out bodies from the mangled remains of the bus. The injured were rushed to hospitals in Jagtial and neighbouring Karimnagar district. “The bus is new, driver was also experienced. It is a dangerous route. Earlier also there were accidents. We will take all precautions by developing this road or diverting (the services),” Finance Minister Etela Rajender said.

It is suspected that the driver lost control near a speed breaker resulting in the accident. However, the exact reason is under investigation, Jagtial SP Sindhu Sharma said. Telangana caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock at the tragedy and announced a financial assistance of Rs five lakh to the families of each of the deceased.