Two persons were killed and over a dozen injured when a speeding private bus, in its attempt to overtake other vehicles, rammed into a gravel-laden tipper on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road, near here on Thursday.
The deceased included the bus driver and an 18-year-old girl, who was a law student.
The bus, which was coming from Jalandhar, crossed to the other side of the road about six kilometres from Hoshiarpur and crashed into the tipper which was coming from the opposite direction. The impact of the collision left the bus and the tipper badly damaged. Another car coming right behind the bus also skidded off the road, however, the occupants escaped unhurt.
The bus (PB 02 AT 9779) belonged to Kartar Bus Service, a company owned by Congress leader Avtar Henry.
Security staff from nearby factories rushed to the spot and called the ambulances. They helped the police rescue the passengers and retrieve the body of the deceased girl, which had been mutilated beyond recognition. A fee slip recovered from her side established her identity as Apoorva Juneja, a first year student of law at Panjab University regional campus, Bajwara.
“The vehicles banged into one another. On hearing the noise, we ran out to see what had happened. The bus had fallen off the road and its roof was blown off. Passengers were crying in pain,” said a security guard.
As many as 11 injured passengers were taken to the civil hospital. Three passengers, including the bus driver were seriously injured and were referred to Jalandhar. Later, the driver was declared brought dead.
The accident led to a massive traffic jam on the Jalandhar-Adampur-Hoshiarpur National Highway, which could be cleared only after several hours. Removing the tipper was a huge task for the police.
Tipper driver Malkinder Singh, who was also injured in the mishap, said he tried to avoid the clash by driving the vehicle away, but the speeding bus just rammed into it. The passengers also alleged that the bus driver was driving recklessly.
Union minister Vijay Sampla and local MLA Sunder Sham Arora met the injured in the hospital. Sampla asked the health authorities to provide good care to the patients.
Meanwhile, a rumour about many causalities in the accident spread on WhatsApp created panic in the public. Even the administration was taken aback for a while. People made frantic calls to media and police to know about the enormity of the accident. Many politicians also made a beeline to the hospital.