Five lecturers and two students of SRM College of Engineering, Barwala, were killed when a tipper (dumper truck) collided head on with the college bus near Rejpura village on the Saha-Shahzadpur-Barwala-Panchkula road, 25km from here, on Tuesday morning.
The bus was carrying 29 students and teachers to the college while the tipper loaded with sand was going towards Saha.
Locals said the accident took place around 8am when the speeding truck tried to overtake another vehicle and rolled over the bus which was coming from the opposite direction.
They said a large number of villagers and the policemen from Saha police station reached the spot for rescue and the injured were taken out from the bus with great difficulty. Three earth-moving machines were pressed into service. The traffic on the state highway remained suspended for a few hours.
Rakesh Chaudhary of the college said the five seriously injured had been taken to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. The 14 injured were shifted to the Ambala Cantt and Naraingarh civil hospitals and three are being treated at a private hospital.
Civil surgeon Dr Vinod Gupta said four persons died at the Ambala Cantt civil hospital and three at the Naraingarh civil hospital.
List of dead, injured
Those who died at the Ambala Cantt hospital are Ankit Gupta (20), Kesar Singh (26), Deepak Sharma (27) and Amir Fulkhan (20) while those who died at the Naraingarh hospital are Vipin Sharma (24), Parvinder (27) and Manish (20). Of these, Ankit and Manish were students while the others were lecturers.
Ankit, Vipin, Fulkhan and Manish belonged to Ambala Cantt, Kesar Singh to Sonda village near Ambala City, Deepak to Ambala City and Parvinder to Behbalpur village near Ambala City.
The relatives of Fulkhan said he had joined college only three months back while Vipin's kin said that she was married only two months ago.
The five seriously injured sent to the PGI are Karan Uppal, Vivek, Pritam, Ajay and Amit Saini. The condition of all other injured is stable.
The injured have been identified as Nisha Gupta (22), Satish Kumar (24), Anil Aggarwal (26), Ajay (22), bus driver Pawan Kumar (28), Sandeep Singh (24), Vijay (21), Malkiat (28), Karan (24), Amit (27), Yogesh (20), Lovepreet (21), Manpreet (22), Aman (20) and Sumit Garg (21). Paramjit, Randeep Kaur and Anil Kumar are being treated at a private hospital.
An injured Manpreet said the students and teachers of SRM College, Bhurewal (Barwala) and Devi Dayal College at Mauli were travelling in the bus.
As the news spread, relatives and friends reached at the Ambala Cantt civil hospital where heart-rending scenes were witnessed.
Minister visits hospital
Health minister Anil Vij, who reached the hospital soon after the accident, said, "It is unfortunate that young lives have been lost and the promising careers cut short." He said the government would bear all treatment expenses of the injured.
Commissioner of police OP Singh, deputy commissioner Mandeep Brar and a large number of administrative and police officers reached the spot.
Deputy commissioner of police (rural) Surinder Bhoria said tipper driver Rohit had been arrested and the vehicle impounded. The driver has been booked under Section 304 (homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC and the Motor Vehicle Act.
In 2011, 13 schoolchildren had lost their lives on the same stretch.