Cuttack: In a heart-wrenching mishap, at least 12 persons died and 40 others including a child were injured when a sleeper coach fell off the Mahanadi bridge here Tuesday evening. Director General Police (DGP) RP Sharma confirmed 12 people have died.
The passenger bus (OD-35-A-0211), en route to Bhubaneswar from Talcher, fell into the river 30-ft down when its driver lost control over the wheels after hitting a buffalo on the bridge. The bus fell on the dry bed as there was no water in the river.
On being informed, police and fire brigade personnel reached the spot and tried to pull out the trapped passengers from the ill-fated vehicle. The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Khageswar Mallick.
The injured were rushed to SCB Medical College and Hospital for treatment. The condition of at least 10 of the injured are stated to be serious. “The injured are mostly from Dhenkanal, Angul, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar,” said a source.
SCBMCH authorities formed a special team of 30 doctors to treat the injured on a war-footing basis.
“I and my son were travelling in the 54-seated bus to reach Cuttack from Talcher. The bus fell into Mahanadi by breaking the side wall of the bridge. We collided with each other and also against bus seats. My son sustained grievous injuries in the incident. I have also pain in my chest,” Rajalaxmi Sahu, a passenger, said.
SCBMCH sources said 12 bodies were sent to the hospital morgue even though the bodies are yet to be identified, said hospital emergency officer Bhubananand Maharana.
SCBMCH authorities made
special arrangement at the dengue ward to treat the injured. Two critically injured persons, Bharat Mallick of Balanga in Puri and Pramod Pradhan of Kandarpur in Cuttack, were shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Sources in the regional transport office (RTO), meanwhile, claimed that the AC bus has all the required documents. “The driver has sustained injuries. We are trying to contact our counterparts in Talcher to know details regarding the driver, said Cuttack RTO Deepti Ranjan Patra. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, state sports and youth affairs minister Chandrasarathi Behera, Pradesh Congress president Niranjan Patnaik visited SCBMCH and inquired about the treatment to the injured.
CM announces Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia
Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and state BJP president Basant Panda expressed deep grief over the incident. The CM announced `2 lakh ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased and free treatment to all the injured.