Odisha bus skids off hilly road as breaks fail, 8 killed, over 40 injured
At least eight people were killed and over 40 injured after a bus carrying them skidded off a mountainous road in Odisha’s coastal district of Ganjam late Tuesday night.
The passenger bus headed to Berhampur town of Ganjam district from Tikiri area of Rayagada district was negotiating the turns and bends of the mountainous road in Taptapani ghat when the driver suddenly lost control over the brakes at Palukhola area.
“We had just resumed our journey after having tea at a roadside tea stall at 3.30 am when the driver suddenly announced that the brakes had failed. Soon after, the vehicle toppled down the road,” said one of the passengers who managed to survive.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced ex gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next kin of the deceased. Odisha transport minister Padmanabha Behera said the bus might have overturned after losing balance due to low visibility in foggy condition. After the rescue operation is over we will do an investigation into the cause of the mishap, he added.
Deputy fire officer Debendra Swain said the bus fell off from a height of 30 feet. “We apprehend more casualties as some passengers are still trapped under the bus. We can see some hands and legs hanging out of the window,” he said.
At least four fire fighting units from Berhampur are engaged in rescue operations. Rescue work was hindered as the accident occurred in a forest area and the spot is surrounded by water. The injured have been rushed to Digapahandi and Berhampur Hospital.
As per National Crime Records Bureau , the number of road accidents in Odisha recorded a rise of 2.1 % in 2018. That year at least 5,581 persons were killed in 5,234 road accidents against 4,610 deaths in 2017.
However, after implementation of the amended Motor Vehicles (MV) Act on September 1, road accidents and fatalities in the State have declined. According to a report released during the State Road Safety Council meet last month, the number of accidents has reduced by around 19% in October and 12% in September compared to the corresponding period of 2018.