40 tourists hurt as bus falls off Dhauli

Bhubaneswar: At least 40 tourists from West Bengal were injured, six of them critically, when the bus (WB 29 9036) in which they were travelling overturned in Dhauli hills near here Tuesday morning.
The mishap took place when the vehicle carrying around 65 tourists from Midnapore area of West Bengal lost balance and overturned, said Khurda district collector Niranjan Sahu who visited the Capital Hospital where the injured were being treated.  
At least 36 injured persons, including four children and 15 women, were taken to the Capital Hospital after the accident. ‘‘Six of them with head injuries were shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. Seven have been kept under observation,’’ said state health secretary Pramod Kumar Meherda.
A special team comprising eight doctors was formed to ensure proper treatment of the injured tourists, while over 40 nurses were engaged for the purpose, they said.
“We came from Puri to Dhauli. While our bus was going down the hill, the driver lost control of the vehicle due to technical reasons. Some locals tried to intercept the bus, but could not stop it before it overturned. I broke my right arm in the incident,’’ said Chhobijay, a passenger from Midnapur.
On receipt of information, police and fire brigade personnel reached the spot to undertake rescue and relief operations, deputy fire officer RC Majhi said.
Around 25 personnel from the striking force of the fire services and other staff were sent to the spot for the operation, he said, adding, that the injured were rescued and sent to the hospital.
Collector Sahu said necessary arrangements have also been made to transport the other tourists in the bus. Those wanting to stay back to look after the injured are being provided necessary facilities like accommodation and food, he said.
The state government, meanwhile, has announced free treatment to all the injured passengers.    
State tourism and culture minister Ashok Panda, who visited the Capital Hospital to see the injured tourists, said all steps have been taken to provide them proper treatment. The exact reason behind the accident is yet to be ascertained, police said.
“We have registered a case (5/17) in the matter and commenced investigation. According to eyewitnesses and victims, the accident occurred due to brake failure. We are yet to ascertain who was driving the vehicle at the time of the mishap,” said Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrata Bhoi.
Hospital authorities have set up a helpline No. 0674-2391983.

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