Mysuru: A sea of humanity gathered to console wailing relatives who lost 30 of their kin when a private bus careened off the road and plummeted into Visvesvaraya canal near Kanaganamaradi village, in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district, on Saturday.
The victims include 15 women, nine children (seven girls and two boys) and six men from 14 villages in the neighbourhood. The driver and conductor survived the accident but fled from the spot soon after the bus plunged into the canal after traversing a distance of 60 feet from the road.
The accident occurred when the private bus, with 34 passengers on board from Pandavapura taluk via Kanaganamaradi to Mandya, fell into the 12 feet deep canal in which 600 cusecs of water was flowing from KRS dam.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumarswamy, transport minister D.C. Thammanna, district in-charge minister Mr C S Puttaraju, former CM Siddaramaiah and others visited the spot and monitored rescue operations, and offered condolences to relatives of victims. Mr Kumaraswamy turned emotional at the sight of relatives crying besides bodies of their kin, and announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakhs for each family.
He said: “We will take measures to improve transport facilities in rural areas, and take measures to prevent such accidents. I am deeply pained by the accident.”
The flow of water from KRS dam was stopped to support rescue operations by the local police, personnel of fire and emergency services, SDRF team and others.
A team of 30 doctors conducted autopsy at the spot and handed over the bodies to the relatives.
The bus was later lifted out of the canal with the help of cranes. Two passengers, Girish, a local carpenter, and Rohit, a 12 year old boy, were the only survivors who were rescued from the canal.
“I am not sure what caused the accident, but it looks like it was the driver's fault. Fifteen people from my village and some of my relatives died. There was no chance for anyone to survive. I survived as I was sitting next to a window,” he said.
The fact that he was also a swimmer helped as he rushed to rescue Rohit. Srinivas, owner of the bus, reportedly passed away three days ago.
It was originally registered in Mangaluru with a fitness certificate valid till May 15, 2019....