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Passengers escape bus blast in Lanka

world Updated: Sep 17, 2008 01:03 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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An alert and quick thinking crew of a bus helped avert a major disaster in the heart of Colombo on Tuesday afternoon after their suspicion that a bomb was placed inside the vehicle proved correct.

The packed bus was evacuated and then driven to a relatively isolated spot in Horton’s Place in the nick of time as the bomb went off, injuring six persons. Medical superintendent of Colombo National Hospital Hector Weerasinghe said six persons were brought to the hospital with minor injuries. “They are likely to be discharged later in the evening. Had the bomb not being detected, it would have been far worse,’’ he said.

A police spokesperson said the bus, plying between Mount Lavinia and Mattakulia in the suburbs of Colombo, was passing the busy Town Hall area when the conductor spotted an unclaimed bag, behind a seat. There were more than 60 people in the bus at that time and Town Hall roundabout was clogged with vehicles.

The driver quickly diverted the bus to a relatively empty road and then evacuated the bus. “Within about 10 minutes of the evacuation, the bomb went off. Those injured were passing the area,’’ the spokesperson said.