Palakkad: Nine people were killed and 40 injured when a tourist bus carrying students rammed a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) super fast from behind at Vadakkencherry in Kerala's Palakkad district around midnight on Wednesday.
The bus, which lost control after the crash and fell into a nearby swamp, was carrying students from Baselious School in Ernakulam's Mulanthuruthy.
According to passengers of the vehicles, the tourist bus hit the KSRTC bus while overtaking a car and overturned before falling into a ditch.
The accident took place near the Anjumoorthy Mangalam bus stop on Walayar-Vadakkencherry national highway.
The condition of 12 of the injured is critical while 28 others sustained minor injuries.
The tourist bus carried 41 students, five teachers, and two employees of the bus. There were 49 passengers in the KSRTC bus.
Casualties likely to go up
The deaceased are VK Vishnu (33), a physical education teacher at the Vettikal Baselius Vidyaniketan School, Plus 2 students Anjana Ajith (17), CS Emmanuel (17), Class 10 students Chris Winter Bon Thomas (15), Diya Rajesh (15) and Elna Jose (15).
KSRTC passengers Rohit Raj (24) from Thrissur and O Anoop (22) from Kollam and Deepu were among the deceased.
The police said the casualties in the accident are likely to go up.
The injured have been admitted to the Palakkad District Hospital. Bodies of the deceased are at Alathoor and Palakkad hospitals.
The 16 injured undergoing treatment at Thrissur hospital include Harikrishnan (22), Ameya (17), Shraddha (15), Aneeja (15), Amrita (15), Thansree (15), Hine Joseph (15), Asha (40), Janeema (15), Arunkumar (38), Blesson (18), Elsil (18) and Elsa (18).
'Bus was speeding from start of journey'
Students from classes 10, 11 and 12 of Baselious School were on a picnic to Ootty when they met with the accident. The group included 26 boys and 16 girls. The passengers in the tourist bus were taken out after breaking the bus.
The KSRTC bus was en route to Coimbatore from Kottarakkara.
'The tourist bus was overspeeding,' KSRTC driver Sumesh told Manorama News. The students also confirmed this.
The KSRTC bus also whirred out of control after the crash but the driver managed to halt it on time.
“The tourist bus driver was tired as he undertook the trip after a trip to Velankanni,” a parent told Manorama News.
"The post-mortem will be conducted soon," MB Rajesh , Kerala State Minister for Local Self-Governments and Excise, said.
"The Revenue Minister and Palakkad District Collector are coordinating the work. The health condition of those undergoing treatment in Palakkad is not critical," he added.
The rescue operation is underway with the help of the police and residents.