At least 32 people — 13 women, six children and 13 male passengers — were injured after a bus returning from Garhshankar to Ludhiana overturned thrice at Dehlon in the wee hours of Monday.
Police said bus driver was rashly driving the vehicle in an inebriated state and couldn’t negotiate the curve, as a result the bus overturned.
The passengers of the bus were returning to Dhuri from the foundation laying ceremony of Guru Ravidas Memorial at Garhshankar. The event was presided over by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
After the mishap, people from Dehlon gurdwara immediately ran towards the school bus that was reportedly hired by a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member for the function, and rescued the passengers. Bus conductor also sustained injuries, while the driver had a narrow escape.
Jhilmil Singh, who owns a shop near the gurdwara, said, “I heard continuous thudding sounds. It felt as if iron drums were falling from the sky. When I rushed, I saw an overturned bus and fuel was leaking from it.”
He said, “I immediately sounded the locals sitting in gurdwara and wounded passengers were taken out of the bus. While 13 passengers were referred to Ludhiana, two passengers were sent to a hospital in Patiala. Rest of the injured has been admitted at Dehlon community health centre.”
Dharam Veer, a resident of Dhuri, who was injured in the accident, said, “Passengers of the bus had asked the driver to slow down the speed several times, but all their pleadings fell on deaf ears. Passengers, including children were afraid as the driver was drunk.”
Another passenger, Bimla Devi, a resident of Dhuri, who was admitted at Dehlon hospital, said, “We started from Garhshankar at Alamgir around 8pm on Sunday evening. When the bus stopped on the way for dinner, we had seen bus driver consuming alcohol at a roadside eatery.”
She said that there could have been a disaster, as fuel had started to leak from the bus, which could have led to fire.
Meanwhile, police have booked bus driver Nirmal Singh, a resident of Dhuri, under Sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) after arresting him.
The bus, which belonged to Cambridge school at Dhuri, was lifted by the local administration later during the day and placed on the roadside. The bus was damaged and front window of the bus had shattered due to the impact.
Six buses were returning from Garhshankar
A total of six buses were coming back from the function at Garhshankar, when the incident took place. Passengers from other buses also came out to help the injured people. Five 108 ambulances were rushed to the spot.