At least 26 people were killed in two separate road accidents in Tamil Nadu yesterday, police said.
According to police, 20 people were killed in an accident when a container lorry carrying tiles collided with a passenger bus travelling from Bengaluru to Ernakulam.
The accident happened near Avinashi in Tiruppur district in Tamil Nadu. The lorry driver lost control of his vehicle after its front tyre burst and hit the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus coming from the opposite side.
The right side of the bus was badly damaged. Police and fire tenders rushed to the spot for rescue operations.
Of the dead, 12 who are from Kerala have been identified, said a Kerala police official.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed the accident as shocking and said two of his ministers are on their way to accident site.
“The chief secretaries of the two states are now co-ordinating everything and if need be even a medical team will be sent,” said Vijayan.
Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran and Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar will co-ordinate relief operations from the accident site, the chief minister said.
State Health Minister K K Shailaja said 20 ambulances have been dispatched to the accident site and the entire expenses of repatriating the bodies will be borne by the state.
Karishma, a passenger on the bus, said she is yet to recover from the shock. “The entire right side of the bus has been completely damaged and the maximum casualties were of people seated on the right side. I was seated on the left side of the bus,” said Karishma, who escaped unhurt.
In all, 46 persons were on board the bus and the dead include both driver and conductor of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus.
The condition of two injured under treatment is serious.
Condoling the deaths, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said he had ordered district officials to provide necessary medical assistance to 23 seriously injured passengers. Five passengers suffered minor injuries.
Palaniswami said a help centre was also set up to render assistance to move the bodies to Kerala.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said: “Extremely anguished by the bus accident in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur district. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. I hope those who are injured recover at the earliest.”
In another road accident, in Tamil Nadu’s Salem district, six Nepali tourists including two women died and 24 others injured when the van in which they were travelling collided with a bus.
The vehicle carrying the Nepali tourists was coming from Kanyakumari and going to Rajasthan.