In a tragic mishap, five people were killed and 15 injured after a collision between a Swift car and a Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation (HTRC) luxury bus at the traffic signal between Sectors 45-46 and 49-50 on national highway-21 at around 2:15 am on Friday.
The deceased include three students of Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, the occupants of the car, and an NRI couple, who fell out of the bus as it overturned and were crushed under it.
The bus was on its way to Delhi from Dharamsala and the car hit it from the right side. The impact of the collision was so severe that the car shot up more than 10 feet and caught fire within minutes of landing. The three students were charred to death in the car itself as they could not come out.
The bus overturned due to the sudden application of brakes and an NRI couple Roopesh Nawarkhele, 35, and wife Kavita, 32 — seated in the driver’s row — fell out of it and was killed after being trapped under the bus. They were rushed to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, but were declared brought dead. Their daughter Ananya, 9, was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, along with the rest of the injured. The family had arrived in India from the UK last month.
The students have been identified as Balroop Singh Bhogal, 23, a BTech student from Shimla; Dipanshu Gupta, 23, an MBA student from Rewari, and Gaurav Garg, 24, an MBA student from Shimla.
Fire dept called in
The fire department was called in to douse the fire. A crane was pressed into service to lift the bus. The car was found to be centrally locked and the door had to be removed.
Mishap caught on CCTV
There is a CRPF barricade near the accident site and a CCTV camera is also installed. The bus had halted for a few minutes at Sector-43 ISBT before moving for Delhi.
Sector-34 SHO Rajesh Shukla said: “The driver of the bus, Surinder, has been booked for causing death due to rash and negligent driving under sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 279 (rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC. The bodies of the three students have been handed over to the families after post-mortem.” The postmortem of the NRI couple was not conducted on Saturday.
Traffic signal non-functional
The accident has brought to fore the need of working traffic lights late at night. In Chandigarh, signals are generally non-functional after 11 pm. Motorists and bus drivers over-speed as a matter of habit.
HRTC executive director (ED) Ram Kumar Gautam said: “I have seen the CCTV footage; a car coming from the Mohali hit the bus from the right side (driver side).” The Himachal government has announced `25,000 for Ananya and `25,000 in all for for a mother-daughter injured duo Meera and Deepali. The medical expenses of all injured will be reimbursed. The CCTV record showed the accident occurred at 2:13 in the morning. “An inquiry has been started,” Gautam claimed.
Three of 15 injured discharged
A woman hailing from Taiwan, Cheen (30); Puneet Parmar (35) and his daughter Elen (1); bus driver Surinder (55); conductor Rishi (37); Ashish (25); Amit Sriniwas (25); Gaurav (28); Pardeep (35); Dheeraj (22); Naresh Kumar(34); Richa (30); Deepali (18); Meera (56) and Ananya (9). Sources at the GMCH-32 said of the 15 injured, 11 were discharged after first-aid. Deepali, 18, Meera, 45, Ananya, 9, are still under treatment. Eleven of the injured are from Dharamsala.
Parvesh Kumar, head constable of CRPF, an eywitness, said: “The car flew 10 feet and the bus also overturned soon. We rushed to help the bus passengers, and within minutes we saw the Swift going up in flames.”