A group of 16 Christmas choristers spreading festival joy by singing carols were hit by a truck in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district in the wee hours of Tuesday, resulting in three of them dying on the spot.
One more chorister succumbed to injuries within half an hour of being admitted to a hospital while the other 12 are being treated for injuries.
"Around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, a lorry going from Hyderabad to Mydhurkuru hit these people belonging to Yerraguntla village, who were singing Christmas carols and waiting to cross the highway," said Kurnool district collector Veerapandian.
The accident occurred on the Nandyala-Allagadda highway in Yerraguntla village, which is 384 kms southwest of Vijayawada.
Uppalapala Jahnsi, 15, S. Vamsi, 12 and Dasari Sushmita died on the spot while Dasari Harshavardan, 8, died within half an hour of being brought to the district hospital in Nandyala.
"Others were immediately shifted to Nandyala district hospital. Severely injured people were shifted to government general hospital (Kurnool)," said Veerapandian.
Severely injured choristers include Mythili, 6, Spandana, 13, Suvarna, 45, Chennamma, 50 and Maddilatamma, 45. They suffered head injuries and broken legs.
"I have already directed the GGH superintendent to provide all the necessary treatment to the injured people. I have also given directions to the district hospital superintendent as well," said the collector.
Other injured singers admitted in the district hospital at Nandayla are Chennakeshavulu, 16, Aravind, 6, Lakshmi, 12, Vijay Kumar, 26, Narasimhulu, 14, Lakshmi Bhargava, 12 and Pravallika, 11.
"We will take care of all the required treatment for the injured people. We will stand by them in all ways. The Chief Minister has also directed us to take care of them," he said.
Veerapandian has deputed joint collector Syed Khaja Mohiuddeen and Nandyala sub-collector Kalpana Kumari to monitor the treatment and relief operations.
Kurnool superintendent of police (SP) Fakeerappa Kagninelli is also monitoring the case.
The accident was a hit-and-run case. Police chased the truck till Bathuluru to nab the driver who rammed into the festival choristers.