Two girl students were killed on the spot and five others injured when a bus collided with an auto-rickshaw near Bharoli village on the Pathankot-Amritsar village on Saturday.
The auto-rickshaw was carrying students of Shaheed Makhan Singh Senior Secondary School, Pathankot, when it collided with a speeding bus coming from Amritsar.
The students, who hailed from different villages along the Pathankot-Amritsar national highway, were returning home after attending school when the accident occurred. The passers-by immediately called the '108' ambulance. Villagers, however, allege that the ambulance reached the spot late. A Pathankot resident took the injured to the local civil hospital in his car. After the accident, the bus driver managed to flee leaving the vehicle behind.
The deceased have been identified as Ruby and Sabhya from Kotli Mungla village, both students of Class 11, while injured Sunaina, Shally, Jasbir, Seema and Priya hailed from villages neighbouring to Kotli. Ajay Kumar, auto-rickshaw driver and a resident of Pathankot, received a head injury.
A five-member team of doctors is looking after the injured students. The condition of Sunaina, a student of Class 12, was critical, said Dr Sunil Kumar, who was tending to her. All other students were out of danger.
Jeevan Lal, sarpanch of a village from where some students hailed, claimed that the injured were rushed to the civil hospital in a private vehicle as the ambulance did not reach the spot in time.
The Pathankot-Amritsar national highway has been witness to several fatal accidents as there is a little time gap between buses plying on this route, which leads to competition and speeding.
Jasbir Kaur, an injured student, told HT that she could not recall what happened after she heard a loud thud. "We were on way to home in the auto-rickshaw when the accident occurred," she said.
A passer-by, however, claimed that the bus driver could not control the vehicle after a motorcyclist came it front of it and he rammed into the auto-rickshaw.