It was a horror Thursday in Tamil Nadu when 28 people died in three separate mishaps. Two of the accidents occurred early in the morning and in both the incidents, the passengers were fast asleep and died on the spot.
Nineteen passengers perished on the spot when a container lorry rammed into a Kochi-bound Kerala State Road Transport (KSRTC) bus in Avinashi town, a few kilometres before from the textile city of Tirupur near Coimbatore in the early hours of Thursday.
Among the dead were the driver and conductor of the inter-state high-end Scania bus. 23 were injured in the incident and the condition of one woman is reportedly serious. The accident happened around 3:00 am.
The bus was ferrying 48 passengers, most of them from Kerala.
According to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi Palaniswamy, the driver of the container lorry fell asleep and the high-speeding vehicle hit the divider resulting in a tyre burst before it rammed into the bus coming in the opposite direction. As the container was loaded with tiles, the impact was so severe that the right portion of the bus got completely ripped off.
Most of the people who died were sitting on the right side of the bus and were asleep when the accident occurred.
Hemaraj, the driver of the container lorry, initially fled from the spot but later surrendered to the police in Palakkad. He was later arrested by the Tirupur police.
According to Kerala Transport Minister AK Saseendran, there were 48 passengers on the bus and most of them had booked their tickets to Palakkad and Kochi. Police and local residents rushed to the spot and shifted the injured to Avinashi, Tirupur and Coimbatore government hospitals.
Soon after the accident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan formed a special ministerial team to monitor the situation and was in constant touch with his Tamil Nadu counterpart. A special team of doctors and paramedical staff was rushed to the accident spot.
The bus was expected to reach Kochi at 7:00 AM and had gone to Bengaluru from Ernakulam on Monday. Since there were no enough passengers for the return trip, the bus which was to leave on Tuesday evening, left a day later on Wednesday evening.
In the second mishap involving a Kerala bus, six tourists from Nepal, including two women, were killed after a Kerala-bound Omnibus from Bengaluru rammed into the tourist bus in Salem in Tamil Nadu on Thursday.
According to the police, the tourist bus from Nepal carrying more than 25 tourists was headed towards Rajasthan from Kanyakumari. They had planned to stay at a temple hall at Chinnanadupatti in Salem district. At Omalur in Salem-Bengaluru National Highway, the tourist bus driver suddenly took a sharp turn to the right to cross the road. At that time, an Omnibus headed towards Kerala from Bengaluru collided with the tourist bus.
In the accident, six Nepal tourists including two women were killed on the spot and around 20 tourists sustained injuries and were admitted in Salem Government Hospital and nearby private hospital.
In the third mishap, this time off the road, three people died and 10 injured in a major accident on the set of actor Kamal Hassan's Indian 2 in Chennai.
The mishap that occurred on Wednesday night when a crane fell on the workers as the set was being constructed.
Kamal Hassan took to Twitter to share his sorrow of the mishap. "I have faced and overcome many accidents, but today's is the most horrific one. I lost three colleagues. The distress of their family members will be many times greater than my own pain. I share their grief as one of them. My deepest condolences to them," he wrote.
Among the dead was director Shankar’s personal assistant Madhu, 29, and assistant director Krishna, 34. Shankar was working close to the spot but had a miraculous escape.
Kamal rushed to the spot and arranged for the injured to be taken to the hospital immediately.
The accident happened when a light set-up on top of a crane fell on the crew.
Indian 2 is currently being shot at EVP Studios in Chennai. The film, starring Kamal Hassan in the lead role and Kajal Aggarwal, Rakul Preet, Siddharth in pivotal roles, is expected to hit the theatres early 2021.
Indian 2 is the sequel to Kamal's 1996 film Indian, a vigilante action thriller.