Seven people were killed and nearly 15 injured after a bus and a truck collided on the Amritsar-Pathankot national highway here.
Of the seven victims, six (Manohar Lal, Ramesh Singh, Sheetal, Parkash Chand, Daud and truck driver Satnam Singh) were identified. The accident happened around noon opposite a police post, and the impact was so severe that it took a JCB machine to separate the wreckages and get the bodies out.
The injured were moved to the hospitals nearby, where the condition of two is serious. "There's report of one more death in a hospital but we are yet to verify," said deputy superintendent of police (Attari) Sukhwinder Singh. "Eyewitnesses and survivors have said that the bus was to its side and it was the truck that came in its way suddenly. Both drivers were killed," he added.
At the time of the incident, the private bus with nearly 50 passengers on board was about 12 kilometres from Amritsar coming in from Batala. Eyewitnesses reported that one side of the road was closed because of construction.The news of the collision brought the passengers' relatives to the spot, and many broke down on seeing the bodies.
This stretch between Amritsar and Batala has remained the scene of fatal road accidents for years. Earlier, it was a single road and now there many diversions because of the ongoing project to convert it to four lanes.
Under treatment in a private hospital, Punjab policeman Atamjit Singh, a survivor from the bus, recalled the accident. "It was horrifying," he said, "I was sitting close to the driver and it was God who saved me. I am scared to even remember the scene. Both vehicles were coming in fast."
Another survivor, Ram Dhana, was in the truck. "We were going to Pathankot and I don't know how it happened and whose mistake it was. All I know is that many lives were lost."