Bus rams lorry 9 dies

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Nine persons, including a three-year-old girl, were killed and 10 injured when a State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) bus hit a stationary lorry on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway (NH4) near here on Thursday.

According to the police, the accident took place around 3.30 p.m. when the bus, driven by Chitty Babu (52) of Vellore was proceeding towards Chennai from Hosur (route number 303).

As the vehicle reached the Rajakulam junction, the driver of the bus noticed a lorry parked on the second lane. He swerved the vehicle towards the median in order to avoid hitting the lorry but in vain, police said.

In the impact, the left side of the bus was completely ripped off, causing injuries to 13 persons, including the bus conductor, Gajendran (58) of Vellore, and killing six commuters on the spot.

Other passengers, and villagers who had noticed the accident, caught hold of Chitty Babu when he attempted to flee and thrashed him. He was rescued by a highway patrol team and admitted to a hospital here. While the injured were rushed to the hospital, the bodies of the dead were shifted to the mortuary.

At the hospital, three male passengers, among whom one was identified as Rajesh (25) of Taramani, Chennai, died later. Seven of the injured passengers — Nagalingam (53) of Perambur, Chennai; his wife, Valarmathi (42); Nagaraj (42) of Thiru.Vi.Ka. Nagar, Chennai; his spouse, Gowri (36); Navin (29) of Bangalore; Maalathi (24) of Gingee, Tiruvannamalai district; and Renuka (31) — were admitted to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. The conductor, Gajendran was referred to the Christian Medical College hospital, Vellore.

Family members of Nagalingam and Nagarajan from Chennai, had gone to Vaniyambadi to attend a marriage. They initially planned to board a train at Ambur to reach Chennai.

However, they ended up taking a bus to Vellore. “At Vellore, we boarded this bus around noon,” said Manohari, Nagarajan’s sister.

“While my brother and sister-in-law, Gowri and my sister, Valarmathi and her husband, Nagalingam, occupied the two two-seater rows on the left side, the others sat on the three-seats row. God only saved us”, she added.

The Kancheepuram Taluk police have registered a case. The police are on the look out for the driver of the lorry, which bears a TN-73 registration number. – The Hindu