8 killed, 28 injured in Karnataka’s Hubballi, second major accident in four days
Bengaluru: Eight people died and 28 were injured in a collision between a private passenger bus and a truck on the Pune-Bengaluru national highway in Hubballi in the early hours of Tuesday. According to police, six people were killed on the spot and two died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Both drivers died on the spot due to the impact of the accident, police added.
Hubballi-Dharwad police commissioner Labhu Ram told HT that the accident took place between 12.30 am and 1 am. “The private bus was coming from Kolhapur and going to Bengaluru. Most of the passengers were from Kolhapur. Most of the 28 injured are undergoing treatment at KIMS (Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences), but some with minor injuries are in other hospitals as well. None of the injured is in a critical condition. Two people who were critical died in hospital, taking the death toll to 8,” said the police commissioner.
Labhu Ram said that the reason for the accident is still unclear. He said that most of the passengers were asleep when the accident took place and the drivers are no more. Officials of the Hubballi Police, however, said that they suspect that the accident took place while the private bus was trying to overtake a tractor and hit the truck that was ahead.
When asked if it was possible if either driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer said that it will be known after the autopsy is conducted.
This is the second major accident in the Hubballi-Dharwad region in the past four days. At least eight people were killed and 13 others sustained serious injuries after a multi-utility vehicle rammed into a tree in the early hours of Saturday. In the vehicle, which had a seating capacity for 13 people, 21 were travelling when the accident took place.
In Saturday’s accident, the deceased included three children. Except for one person, all the deceased were members of one family. When asked about action by the police following these incidents, the commissioner said that routine checks on major roads are ongoing, since the accidents took place on a national highway, the police are looking at what measures can be implemented.
KIMS Director Dr Ramalingappa Antartani said that six people were killed on the spot and two passengers succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. He said five patients were admitted there, and the remaining 15 opted for treatment at hospitals in Kolhapur against medical advice. He said that two people who died in the hospital were Mohammad Dayan Baig (24) and Babasaheb Annsaheb Chougle (55). According to officials, Baig was on his way to Mysuru to get admission to a Pre-University degree college.
Hubballi North Traffic police, who are working on the case, is yet to identify the other deceased.
Saroj Shakti, one of the passengers who survived the accident on Tuesday said that she woke up to a loud noise. “It was a sleeper bus, so we couldn’t see what was ahead. It was a long journey, so we were fast asleep. I was shaken by the collision and some locals took me to the hospital,” she told the media.
“My sister and I were badly injured. Locals shattered the glass of the emergency exit and we were taken out of the bus. An ambulance arrived at the spot, and after 10 minutes, we were ferried to the hospital. My elder sister suffered injuries on her neck; she is unable to speak,” Pratiksha Nawale, 25, a software engineer, who was admitted to KIMS told the media.
Nigappa, a local resident who was called in by the police for rescue work said that he got a call from some policemen known to him informing him about the accident. “Since it was near our area, I gathered some people and went to the location. Because there were big vehicles (a bus, truck and tractor) involved, the situation was very bad. We initially took those who were injured and could be saved to the hospital first and then cleared the bodies inside the bus,” he said.
He added that from the debris of both vehicles it appeared that both vehicles were speeding. “The impact on both vehicles was big. The truck was carrying a load of rice bags as well, so it was heavy. It is not possible to say whose fault it was, but both vehicles were speeding,” he added.
Former CM HD Kumaraswamy has condoled the deaths and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. He has also demanded that the government take proper action to prevent such accidents on the Hubballi-Dharward bypass. “There are frequent tragedies in the area of the Kolhapur-Hubballi highway where the accident occurred, which people say is the ‘highway of death’. Officials should take proper care of this and prevent accidents,” he tweeted.