Nine pilgrims, including seven of a family, were killed and 12 injured after a pick-up vehicle they were travelling in collided with a truck at Sainivas village near Siwani in Bhiwani district around 1am on Friday.
The deceased, including a woman and six children, have been identified as Preet Kaur, Gaggu, Sagar, Dara Singh, Raja, Ravinder, Roshan, Shalu and Nandi, all residents of Machhiwarain Ludhiana’s Samrala. They were returning from Gogamedi, a village of religious importance in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan.
Police said the pick-up overturned after colliding head-on with a speeding truck, before being hit by another truck from the rear. “The pilgrims had divided the pick-up vehicle’s carriage into two parts using a wooden board. Those sleeping on the upper side of the carriage died as they fell on the road after the vehicle overturned,” DSP Siwani Vijay Singh said.
The drivers of all three vehicles fled after the accident, police said. Five people died on the spot while four were declared brought dead at a hospital. The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Bhiwani and Hisar.
Police have registered a case against truck drivers. Heartrending scenes were witnessed at back home at Hambowal Bet village in Machhiwara as a family lost seven members in the accident. Ram Pyari, 75, who lost her son, daughter-in-law and five grandsons, was inconsolable. On September 12, seven pilgrims from Punjab were killed and 53 injured in an accident in Sirsa.