Nineteen people, including six women, were killed when a Kerala state government bus collided head-on with a container lorry near Tamil Nadu's Avanashi town in Tirupur district, 40 km from here, on Thursday, officials said.
The bus was going to Thiruvananthapuram from Bengaluru, while the lorry was coming from the opposite direction on the Coimbatore-Salem highway when the mishap occurred at 4.30 am, police said.
Of the 48 passengers in the bus, 19 died on the spot and the remaining sustained injuries.
Condoling the death of several people in an accident involving a bus and lorry in Tamil Nadu, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed two of his ministerial colleagues to rush to the neighbouring state to coordinate relief operations.
He also directed the Palakkad district collector to take necessary steps to provide medical aid to the injured and bring back the bodies of those from Kerala, the chief minister's office said.
Transport minister A K Saseendran and agriculture minister V S Sunilkumar have been directed to rush to Tamil Nadu to coordinate relief operations, the CMO said.
It said it was in regular touch with Tirupur district administration and efforts were on to identify the bodies.