A day after the tragic accident in Avinashi in Coimbatore that killed 19 people on a bus from Bengaluru to Kochi, another bus met with an accident at Hunsur, near Mysuru. The little-reported incident occurred at around 1.30 am on Friday, February 21, as a bus, owned by Kallada Travels and headed from Bengaluru to Perinthalmanna in Malappuram, overturned. A woman died and several got injured.
On Saturday, another young woman, who was also travelling in the bus, came out with a video to reveal what really happened that night. With a bandage around her fractured neck, Amrutha Menon, who had slept next to the woman who died in the accident, spoke with an obvious lot of pain. “Quite a lot of reports about the accident are not correct. One was that the woman who died was a Malayali, which is wrong. She hailed from Maharashtra and worked in Bengaluru. Another was that the bus swerved while trying to save a car, which is also wrong. That’s when I decided to make the video. The accident happened only because of the high-handedness of the driver,” she says.
Amrutha goes on to say that the driver had been driving very rashly and the passengers in the sleeper bus were very uncomfortable. “It was going beyond a speed you’d imagine,” she says. A few of the passengers went to talk to the driver to slow down a little, and to take into consideration that there are children and a pregnant woman in the bus. “But the reply they got is that he knew this route well.”
The bus started at 9.30 pm from Bengaluru and the over-speeding began right away, Amrutha says. They could not sit because the bus was that shaky and even whey lied down to sleep, it was too jumpy.
Many of the people were sleeping when the accident happened and found themselves thrown inside the bus. Luggage and people from the upper berths had fallen on top of Amrutha and that’s how she fractured her neck. Her head was hit and blood had clotted. The woman who slept near her too was in a similar state but she got internal injury and died.
“The bus had turned to a road which the Kallada bus didn’t have permit to travel on. The driver lost balance when he suddenly took a left turn, hit a post and overturned. When I was lifted out of the bus, I saw the cleaner who had helped us in the journey lying down without a leg, another passenger without a hand, a third lost fingers. One person lost his eyesight. The pregnant woman was hurt too. All of this happened because of the driver’s recklessness.”
The woman who was next to Amrutha died as people and things from the berths above fell on her, causing grievous injuries on her.
The injured passengers were taken to the government hospital nearby. Policemen from the nearby station had also reached to help. “The police were asking why the driver took this route. The state of the bus is so bad that no one would believe anyone got out of it alive. Passengers of another bus that was travelling behind us later told us that our bus was trying to overtake them for some time and then took a turn to somehow reach first.”
Another bus was arranged by Kallada to take the passengers from the hospital to the final destination. They were all afraid to board another bus by the same group after the experience but they didn’t have another option right then. “We waited till 7 am to begin this second journey. But then the way this second bus sped through the curves of the Wayanad Ghat road (churam), it is a surprise we reached our home alive. Kallada didn’t even have the consideration that these were victims of an accident being taken home. This attitude was what was shocking. I felt their recklessness had to come out,” Amrutha says. In a Facebook post, she appeals to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the police to look into the matter.
Kallada travels had earlier been in the news for forcefully ousting and beating up three passengers in the middle of a journey from Haripad to Bengaluru last year. A video of the attack was circulated and later two of the passengers spoke to TNM about how they were chased for close to three hours even after being ousted from the bus by goons from Kallada Travels.