Three die as nursery school van falls into pond in Kochi
Kochi: Three people, including two nursery children, died when a playschool van fell into a pond at Kattithara in Maradu on Monday. The deceased were identified as toddlers Adithyan S. Nair (four and a half years), son of Sreejith, Ayani Bunk Road, and Vidya Lakshmi (four and a half years), D/o Sanil, a native of Chengannur currently residing at Maradu, and ayah Latha Unni (45), a resident of Kochirapadam House, Vikram Sarabhai Road. The condition of driver Anil Kumar (Babu), admitted to PS Mission Hospital, is serious while Ann, another toddler who was recuperating at Vytilla Welcare Hospital, is stated to be out of danger.
According to cops, the mishap took place at 4.10 pm when the school van of ‘Kidz World Daycare’ was negotiating an ‘S’-shaped curve along the narrow interior Kattithara Road. The van, carrying eight kids and the ayah, skidded and fell into a temple pond at Ayani on the roadside. The narrow road had turned slippery following heavy rains earlier in the day. The vehicle too was in a dangerous condition with reportedly no fitness certificate and worn out tyres.
The MVD officials said the vehicle carried no sticker that signals its undergoing fitness test recently. “We suspect it had no fitness. The worn out tyres could be a factor for the mishap. Further probe is on,” said Shaji K. M., Enforcement RTO. “The mishap happened just after dropping two kids. Residents came running hearing the sound and engaged in rescue immediately and saved five children, the condition of all of whom are fine,” police said. “Only a portion of the van’s rear side could be seen above water at first. We broke the glass and took the kids, the driver and the ayah out. Three doors at one side of the van were found locked. All the people inside the van could be taken out in 10 minutes,” said Mukesh T. R., who actively took part in the rescue operations.
The loose soil made the rescue operations difficult. As per preliminary probe, the vehicle was overspeeding and skidded while the driver applied brakes. "We’re considering to register a case Under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the driver. We’ll also inspect the CCTV of a nearby house,” said K. A. Abdul Salam, ACP (traffic) East. "This is a danger spot, especially when it rains. Last year too, a mini lorry carrying concrete blocks fell into the pond. Then the driver had jumped out and escaped. The authorities should construct a protection wall on a war-footing,” said P.J. Thampi, another resident. District Collector Muhammed Y. Safirulla and City Police Commissioner M.P. Dinesh visted the spot.