Friday, July 25, 2014

14 children killed as train rams school bus

MARRI RAMU
 
The mangled remains of the school bus after the Nanded-Hyderabad Passenger rammed it at an unmanned level crossing near Toopran in Medak district of Telangana on Thursday.- Photo: Nagara Gopal
The mangled remains of the school bus after the Nanded-Hyderabad Passenger rammed it at an unmanned level crossing near Toopran in Medak district of Telangana on Thursday.- Photo: Nagara Gopal
Fourteen children were killed when a passenger train rammed into a private school bus at an unmanned railway crossing at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday.
Driver and cleaner of the bus belonging to Kakatiya Techno School located at Toopran in Medak, 50 km from here, too died.
After picking up 34 students from nearby villages, the bus was on its way to Masaipet where some more children were to board. The bus was being driven by a new driver, Bikshapati, replacing the regular driver K. Balaiah, who was on leave.
“While moving past the level crossing, he failed to notice the approaching Nanded –Secunderabad passenger train,” said Secunderabad Railway SP S. Chandrashekhar Reddy.
Eyewitnesses told the police that the school bus was flung into the air as the train crashed into it before falling on the track again only to be dragged for another 30 yards. Death was instant for 12 students and the driver. Cleaner Narsimhulu and two other students died on the way to hospital. Twenty injured students were shifted to Yashoda hospital in Hyderabad where the condition of five students is stated to be critical.
“I thought it was a prank call when someone rang up and said bus carrying my three children was hit by a train. But the caller shouted at me, asking me to rush to the spot,” said Malla Goud. His youngest daughter Sruti (5),a UKG student, died. While his son Varun (7) in second standard, lost his limbs, eldest daughter Ruchita (8) suffered critical wounds. Investigators are looking into the charge that the bus driver was talking over mobile phone while going past the crossing. Others held the view that a concrete structure built by the railways for the guards blocked the view of the approaching train resulting in the accident. The accident site presented a gory picture with bags, lunch boxes, shoes, books and stationery of students strewn around the mangled bus. While many cried inconsolably, others blamed the railway officials for not posting guards at the level crossing. They villagers squatted on the railway track, raised slogans against Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao and urged the top railway officials to come to the spot. Police resorted to lathicharge as some Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists tried to block an ambulance. Villagers continued their protests till evening. State government and the Railways have announced Rs. Five lakh and Rs. 10 lakh compensation, respectively, to each of the victim’s family.

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