Eight students, two lecturers and the drivers of both vehicles died after a college bus collided head on with a sand-loaded truck on National Highway 73A near Manakpur village, about 7 km from Yamunanagar. None of the other 29 occupants of the bus could escape unhurt.
The accident took place around 8.30am when the driver of the truck allegedly lost control and rammed the bus of Shri Ram Institute of Management and Technology, a private college in Urjini, located about 9 km from the twin town of Jagadhri-Yamunanagar.
Residents nearby extricated the bodies; eight were sent to Mukand Lal General Hospital in Yamunanagar and four to civil hospital, Jagadhri.
Of the 22 injured admitted to the Yamunanagar hospital, five were in critical condition, said senior medical officer Dr Vijay Dahiya. Two of the injured left for private hospitals.
The deceased included Uma Dhiman and Deepika of Yamunanagar; Rinki Mittal, Jitender, Priyanka and Neha Rulla of Jagadhri; Sunita Pal, Katika Madan, Harvinder Kaur and Gagandeep Singh of Jagadhri Workshop, besides bus driver Joginder, who belonged to Jathlana in Yamunanagar district. Truck driver Satish Kumar was from Rohtak, police said.
All those injured also belong to Yamunanagar district. Gaurav, a sports teacher who was one of those hurt, told HT that he lost senses after the collision, and when he regained consciousness, he found himself on the ground, drenched in diesel. "I immediately called up the college chairman, Mohit Sharma. I then entered the bus and rescued two students," he narrated.
As the news spread, hundreds reached the hospitals. Several of them protested against the authorities for the lack of traffic control staff on the busy road.
The police registered a case under sections 279, 337, 338 and 304A of the IPC and started a probe to find the reason behind the mishap.
College principal SL Saini, when contacted, said the bus was hardly one year old and the driver, Joginder, was quite experienced. He said the college would be closed on Friday and a condolence meet would be held on Saturday.
CM visits, announces relief
Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda reached Yamunanagar soon after the accident, and visited the injured at the hospitals. He was accompanied by state Congress chief Phool Chand Mullana, chief parliamentary secretary Dharambir Singh and local MLA Rajpal Bhukhri among others. Kumari Selja, union minister who represents Ambala in the Lok Sabha, also visited the injured and the victims' kin. Leader of opposition Om Parkash Chautala also condoled the deaths in a message.
The CM announced Rs 1 Lakh for the deceased's kin, Rs 25,000 each for the seriously injured and Rs 10,000 for the injured. He also announced free treatment for the victims and promised reward for those who helped in the rescue operations. The CM also instructed Ashok Sangwan, the deputy commissioner, to ensure that traffic was regulated, especially during college and school hours.