Nine killed, 44 hurt as bus falls into gorge on way to Thiruchanoor

Nearly two hours after the incident, some travellers on the ghat road heard loud cries from the valley and alerted the local police

TIRUPATI: At least nine people were killed and 44 others injured after a private travels bus fell into a 60-feet gorge at Bhakarapeta ghat road, near Bhakarapeta in Chittoor district late on Saturday night.

The victims are said to be from Dharmavaram in Anantapur district. The accident occured when the bus, carrying more than 63 passengers, tripped over a speed bump at Donakoti Gangamma temple on the ghat road. The injured persons were shifted to SVR Ruia Government General Hospital in Tirupati.

According to the police, the incident happened at around 9.30 pm at Bhakarapet ghat between Madanapalle and Tirupati. The victims, excluding the driver and the cleaner, belongs to a group of family and friends from Dharmavaram. They were going to Tiruchanoor near Tirupati, in a private bus to attend an engagement ceremony of one Malishetty Venu (28), scheduled on Sunday morning.

“After having their dinner at a dhaba in Pileru at around 9 pm, the inmates of the bus resumed their journey to Tiruchanoor. Upon reaching Donakoti Gangamma temple at around 9.30 pm, the driver reportedly lost control over the steering when the bus tripped over a speed bump, and then the bus fell off the road and plunged into a deep valley. Since it was late at night, nobody noticed the accident for over two hours. Also, there were no mobile signals deep in the valley to enable the survivors communicate with others”, a senior police officer said.

Nearly two hours after the incident, some travellers on the ghat road heard loud cries from the valley and immediately alerted the local police. On receiving information, the police immediately rushed to the spot and took up the rescue operations. By 1 am, the police have managed to bring out the survivors from the bus and shift them to Ruia hospital at Tirupati. As many as eight bodies have been recovered so far.

District Collector M. Hari Narayanan, Tirupati (urban) Superintendent of Police Ch Venkata Appala Naidu and TTD CV&SO Gopinath Jatti, who rushed to the accident spot, supervised the rescue operations. Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy expressed grief over the incident. He spoke to the district collector and inquired about the incident and also instructed the concerned officials to ensure all the injured are given better treatment.

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