At least nine people died when an Andhra Pradesh state transport bus fell off a bridge into a stream in West Godavari district.

Survivors from Andhra bus accident being rescued
news Accident Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 19:05

The journey from Telangana’s Aswaraopeta to Jangareddygudem in Andhra Pradesh is only around 26 km long. An APSRTC bus was only a few kilometers away from its destination when, within seconds, nearly 45 passengers found themselves drowning in the Jalleru rivulet in West Godavari district. The bus had fallen off a bridge and plunged into the stream, and nine people have died in the accident so far. Harinath Babu, who is one of the lucky survivors, was asleep when the accident happened. “I was asleep, and in a split second, I was in the water. I didn’t understand what was going on, I was completely fazed,” he told BBC News Telugu. 

Harinath Babu, who had been sitting close to the driver, said that when he saw the sun rays through the water, he managed to climb out of the bus and was then pulled out by local residents. “By then, the boats were here, and I was taken to the hospital,” he said. Another survivor told TV9, “We suddenly found ourselves in the water. A few other youngsters and I quickly broke the window glass and got out, and then helped a few others too,” he said. 

As the bus lay on its side in the water, rescuers were seen pulling survivors and bodies out of the bus and placing them on the side of the bus, after which they were brought to the shore with the help of boats. The driver of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus was also among the deceased. 

At least 12 other passengers, who suffered injuries in the accident, were admitted to the area hospital in Jangareddygudem while a few others who were seriously injured were shifted to the district headquarters hospital in Eluru. The conductor of the bus and several other passengers escaped with minor injuries, RTC and revenue officials said. In all, there were around 45 passengers and two crew on the bus.

Some of the passengers and the conductor crawled out of the bus windows even as the local people who rushed to the scene pulled them out to safety. Some of the passengers sustained minor wounds as the window glass splinters struck them when the bus plunged into the rivulet.

West Godavari district Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma told PTI that the bus was on its way to Jangareddygudem from Aswaraopet in neighbouring Telangana when the mishap occurred. While the reason for the accident remains unclear, according to a few reports, local residents have blamed the condition of the guardrails on the bridge, which they alleged were in disrepair. APSRTC has ordered an inquiry into the accident, The Hindu reported. 

“The bus hit the bridge railing and fell into the rivulet. We have so far recovered nine bodies, including five female passengers and the driver Appa Rao,” SP Rahul Dev said. Meanwhile, the state government announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) said the government would take care of the medical expenses of the injured persons.

APSRTC Managing Director Ch Dwaraka Tirumala Rao rushed to Jangareddygudem to supervise the rescue operations. Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed anguish over the bus mishap. Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu, state Congress president Sake Sailajanath and BJP state general secretary S Vishnuvardhan Reddy too expressed grief over the accident.

With PTI inputs