Five people, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed and four injured after the Toyota Innova they were on collided with a combine harvester at Kot Dharam Chand village near Chabhal town, around 5km from Tarn Taran on Tuesday afternoon.
The passengers of the SUV- members of two families from Budh Singh Wala village falling in Sri Ganganagar district in Rajasthan - were on a pilgrimage.
At the fatal hour, they were on their way to gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib at Amritsar, having paid obeisance at Sri Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, earlier in the day.
The deceased have been identified as Jasdeep Singh (10), Ramandeep Kaur (30), Sukhbir Kaur (38), Raju Brar (the driver, age not confirmed yet) and Sarabjit Kaur (40). Hardeep Singh, his son Karanbir Singh, Buta Singh and his daughter Ravneet Kaur have been critically injured.
A witness said the harvester was approaching the Tarn Taran-Chabal road from the Kot Dharam Chand village link road when the harvester's axle broke and the driver, identified as Jassa, lost control over the vehicle.
"The Innova driver failed to spot the harvester as his view was obscured by bushes by the roadside. The SUV hit the harvester at high speed," another witness told HT.
Chabhal station house officer (SHO) Sukhbir Singh reached the spot and the injured were taken to a nearby private hospital, before being referred to a private hospital in Amritsar. Of the injured, Hardeep Singh is stated to be in a very critical situation.
The impact of the high-speed collision was so severe that the Innova driver was crushed under the harvester. His body could be retrieved from the mangles remains at the site only after a lot of effort by the police and local villagers.
"The harvester driver has been identified as Jassa and has been booked under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 279 (rash driving or driving in public day) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of `50 or more) of the Indian Penal Code."