Atleast eight people were killed and 28 injured during a collision between a private passenger bus and a truck on the Pune-Bengaluru national highway in Hubballi in the wee hours of Tuesday. This is the second major accident in the Hubballi-Dharwad region in the past four days. The accident had claimed eight lives.
Hubballi-Dharwad police commissioner Labhu Ram said that the accident took place between 12.30 am and 1 am.
Police said six people were killed on the spot and two died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Both drivers died on the spot due to the impact of the accident, a police official added.
“The private bus was on the way from Kolhapur to Bengaluru. Most of the passengers were from Kolhapur,” said Ram. “Most of the injured are undergoing treatment at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), but a few others who had sustained minor injuries have been admitted in other hospitals also. None of the injured is in critical condition. Two people who were critical died in hospital, taking the death toll to eight,” said the police commissioner. Labhu Ram said, “We are trying to ascertain the reason behind the accident. Most of the passengers were asleep when the mishap took place and drivers are no more.”
Meanwhile, KIMS director Dr Ramalingappa Antartani said, “Six people were killed on the spot and two passengers had succumbed to their injuries at the hospital.Five patients were admitted in the KIMS, and the remaining 15 opted for treatment at hospitals in Kolhapur against medical advice.” He identified the deceased as Mohammad Dayan Baig (24) and Babasaheb Annsaheb Chougle (55). The identity of other deceased persons is being ascertained, said police.
Officials at the Hubballi police however said that there is a suspicion that the accident took place while the private bus was trying to overtake a tractor and hit the truck that was coming from the opposite side.
When asked if there was a suspicion of either driver driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer said that the same will be cleared in the autopsy report.
On Saturday, a multi-utility vehicle rammed into a tree near the Hubballi-Dharwad region killing at least eight people and seriously injuring 13 others. The vehicle with a seating capacity for 13 was overloaded with 21 persons at the time of accident.
In Saturday’s accident, the deceased included three children. Except for one person, all deceased were members of one family. When asked about the action taken by the police following these incidents, the commissioner said that routine checks on the major roads are ongoing. “Since the accidents took place on a national highway, the police are looking at what measures can be implemented,” he said.
Saroj Shakti (AGE), one of the passengers who survived the accident on Tuesday said, “It was a sleeper bus, so we couldn’t see what was ahead. We were fast asleep. I was woken up by the collision,” she said.
“My sister and I were badly injured. A few locals shattered the emergency exit glass to rescue us. Later, an ambulance rushed us to the hospital. My elder sister suffered injuries to her neck and is unable to speak” another passenger Pratiksha Nawale, 25, said.
Nigappa, a local resident who was called by the police for rescue work said that he got a call from some policemen known to him informing him about the accident. “Since it (the accident site) was near to us, I gathered some people and went to the location. Because there were big vehicles (bus, truck and tractor) were involved and the situation was bad. We initially tried to rescue the injured people and later cleared the bodies inside the bus,” he said.
“The impact on both vehicles was big. The truck was carrying a load of rice bags as well. Both vehicles appear to be speeding,” he said.
Former CM HD Kumaraswamy condoled the deaths and wished speedy recovery to the injured.“Tragedies are taking place frequently in the area near the Kolhapur-Hubballi highway. Officials should take proper care of this and prevent accidents,” he tweeted.
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