Kottayam: Nine passengers, including four
women and a child, drowned when a private bus with about 40
persons on board plunged into the Meenachil river here on Tuesday.
One person, who was engaged in rescue operations, also
collapsed and died, police said.
The bus was coming from Cherthala in Alappuzha district to
Kottayam along the rural route when it fell into the river
after hitting an electric pole, they said.
Eight bodies were kept at the Medical College hospital
while the rest at the district hospital here. The deceased
include the conductor of the bus, hospital sources said.
Twenty persons, including the driver, were admitted in the
Rescuers, including Naval divers from Kochi, were still
searching in the river at Thazhathangadi to ascertain if more
bodies were trapped in the slush, the police said.
The bus, portion of which got stuck in the muddy
river-bed, was lifted out after five hours using six cranes,
but no body was found trapped inside the vehicle, as feared
Some of the survivors said the bus had about 35 to 40
persons when the mishap occurred.
However, it was difficult to say exactly how many
passengers were in the bus at the time of mishap as the
conductor was among those who met with the watery grave.
Last year, a boat had capsized at Thekkady lake claiming
45 lives. In 2002, in Kumarakom, which is close by the spot of
today`s mishap, 29 people had died in a boat mishap.