A nine-year-old boy was killed in Sion in central Mumbai on Wednesday after he stuck his head out of his school bus window and hit a metal advertisement board. The tragedy could have been averted had the school bus safety policy been enforced strictly.
The schoolboy, Viraj Devendra Parmar, was a Class 3 student of Shri Vallabhashram school, outside which the accident took place.
The school bus policy would have made it mandatory for the bus to have three bars on the window with gaps too narrow to allow children to stick their heads or torsos out.
The incident took place around 1.30 pm. Viraj got into the contract bus parked outside his school and sat next to the window on the last row. As the bus started moving ahead, he stuck his head out and his forehead hit a metal ad board (4 feet x 2 feet) attached to a lamppost at a low height.
There were more than 30 students in the bus, who started shouting as Viraj began bleeding severely from his ears, the police said.
The driver stopped the bus and fled even as parents and the school watchmen rushed to the spot to discover that Viraj had lost consciousness. The boy was rushed to Sion hospital.
School authorities called up Viraj's mother, who called her husband, and hurried to the hospital. Viraj was an only child.
"The patient had suffered a massive head injury. He was critical and died around 2 pm," said Dr Sandhya Kamath, dean, Sion hospital.
"The driver realised he would be beaten up, so he fled," said Tukaram Adavatkar, sub-inspector, Sion police station. "People handed over the cleaner to us."
The police said they would register a case of negligence against the driver and the cleaner. They are also trying to determine if there was negligence on the part of the bus operator.