Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Athmallik, Sep 9:
In a tragic incident, at least 19 persons were killed and around 30 injured when a bus in which they were travelling fell off a bridge near Puruna Manitri here in Odisha’s Angul district today.
According to reports, the accident took place at around 10 am when the vehicle carrying around 60-65 passengers was on the way to Athmallik from Boudh. The driver of the ill-fated bus lost control over the wheels following which it fell off the bridge from a height of 50 feet. The driver of the bus fled the spot and went absconding after the incident.
On being informed about the mishap, police and fire personnel rushed to the spot and launched rescue operation. While 30 injured persons were rushed to Athmallik sub-divisional hospital, 15 of them were shifted to Angul district headquarters hospital (DHH) as their condition deteriorated.
It was later decided to shift a critically injured woman namely Pritimanjari Nayak to SCB Medical College and Hospital through air ambulance for which a chopper was arranged. The helicopter landed at Satyabrata stadium in Cuttack at around 3.15 pm and the woman was taken to SCB hospital.
Later, four more were airlifted form Angul to Cuttack and admitted to SCB hospital.
As per latest report, a total of 22 persons who had sustained grievous injuries have been shifted from Angul DHH to SCB hospital.
According to an eyewitness, the driver was talking over mobile phone while driving the bus on the bridge. A bicycle suddenly came in front of the vehicle following which the driver steered the bus towards the edge of the bridge in a bid to save the cycle rider. The bus dashed into the wall of the bridge and fell down, the eyewitness said.
The deceased whose identities have been established are Mitrabhanu Mahakud (Kundanali), Bapolin Gaigouria (Madhapur), Ratnaprabha Mendeli, Ratan Sahu (Kundanali), Debashish Nayak (Kundanali), Yashashwi Mahakud (Phulbani), Kalandi Manandia, Parvati Pradhan (Manarbedha), Jagmohan Chhatar (Hisani), Chapadhari Das (Madhapur), Ravindra Mahakud (Boudh), Ranilata Mahakud (Boudh), Sadhu Pradhan (Boudh), Khedu Dehury, Arati Bhukta (Athmallik) and Usha Mahakud (Athmallik).
“The bus has been completely damaged in the accident. All the passengers have been taken out of the vehicle,” said Athmallik SDPO Gopal Patnaik.
“This is a tragic incident. The reason behind the accident will be probed. A report will be sought from RTO in this regard,” said Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the incident and announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for kin of each deceased. Patnaik also announced free treatment of the injured persons.