Eleven killed as bus plunges into gorge

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Coimbatore, June 4 (UNI) Eleven people, including two women and a child, were crushed to death and as many as 52 others suffered injuries when a State-owned bus plunged into a 800-ft gorge in the hill station of Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, today.

Police said the bus, carrying nearly 85 passengers, was negotiating the 36th hairpin bend near Kallatti Road, when the driver swerved to his left to avoid dashing an oncoming vehicle and lost control as it was raining heavily. The bus was on its way to Mayar from Udhagamandalam when the mishap occurred.

Those died on the spot included the driver of the bus Karthikeyan and conductor Allen. Most of the other passengers sustained fractures in the mishap.

The bus left Udhagamandalam with 55 passengers and carried 30-odd passengers from another bus, which had broken down enroute, police said.

Heart rending scenes were witnessed as the passengers, trapped inside the bus, cried for help. Local tribals, braving heavy rains, rushed to the spot and took up rescue operation, before the fire service personnel could reach the spot.

The absence of the District Collector and Superintendent of Police at the spot added to the woes, local people said.

The injured were admitted to the Udhagamandalam Government Hospital, which presented a scene of chaos. There were no adequate medical and para-medical staff to immediately attend to the injured.

A couple of people who were in a serious condition were admitted to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital.

UNI KS-WS RL AS1630

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