Kottayam (Kerala), March 23 (ANI): At least 10 persons including school children, women and one rescuer died when a private bus carrying around 40 passengers fell into a deep river after hitting an electricity pole while giving side to other vehicle near Kerala's Kottayam district on Tuesday.
The incident occurred at around 2.15 pm when the driver of the bus, coming to Kottayam from Cherthala in Alleppey district, was seen giving way to a vehicle passing by and hit the electricity pole on the roadside. Soon the line bus tumbled and drowned into the Meenachil River.
Most of people were rescued by the villagers, who rushed for their help after witnessing the incident. Besides, the local country boat operators plying in the region rushed to save people, which prevented it from becoming a major mishap.
Two navy helicopters from Southern naval Command were pressed into service. They conducted an Ariel search operation around the area. The naval divers also joined in the underwater search with fire and rescue personnel.
The survivors at the Medical hospital said that the bus was not running at its normal speed just when it hit the pole and suddenly tumbled into the river. The bus wasn't crowded. Everyone also felt short circuit after falling in the water.
Kerala's State Health and transport minister with other higher official of Police rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Till last reports arrived, eight bodies had been fished out by rescuers from the river at Thazhathangadi.
The death toll is likely to rise and the efforts were on to lift the bus from the water using heavy cranes, as small cranes could not be of any help.
Rescue workers have since managed to lift the bus partly out of water, after 3 to 4 hours from the time of incident. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)