Sunday, 17 November 2013

22 dead as mini truck overturns in Belgaum

Around 4am Saturday, an overloaded canter overturned near Halaki cross on the Belgaum-Bagalkot state highway, killing at least 22 labourers and injuring 15. The dead included nine women and eight children.

The driver lost control when he swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle and slipped into a roadside pit on a deserted stretch of the highway in Savadatti taluk. The passengers, who had no room to escape, were crushed in the canter, which was carrying at least 52 people and sacks of rice, dal and other groceries.

Basavaraju, who escaped with minor injuries, said most of the victims did not suffer any major injuries, but died of suffocation. "The driver lost control and due to the impact, the bags fell on the people, especially the children," said Basavaraju.

The victims were labourers from Surpur village of Yadgir district in Gulbarga. They were on their way to work at a stone quarry at Savantvadi village in Maharashtra. Among the 15 injured, nine suffered serious injuries and were admitted to KLE Hospital in Belgaum, while the rest are undergoing treatment at the City Civil Hospital.

The rice and ragi bags, personal baggage and cooking utensils that the truck was loaded with, fell over them. Since the labourers were required to be at a construction site till June next year, they were carrying nearly 35 quintals of rice, ragi and bajara and other grocery items. In fact, the truck was jam-packed, with men, women, children and luggage.

Govind Somalingappa Jadhava, one of the survivors of the accident, was all praise for the quick assistance rendered by the authorities in removing them from under the overturned truck. He was one of those who helped in rescuing 15 persons from certain death by clearing the bags that had fallen on top of them. “We don’t know how the accident happened as we were asleep. Even before we could realise what had happened, we heard screams and cries. It was a ghastly scene,” he said.

He and Thakur Hanmant Rathod, both residents of Surpur taluk of Yadgir district, and a few others, were among those sitting at the back of the truck. He said all of them were going to Sawanthwadi in Maharashtra, about 100 km from Belgaum city. The truck had started picking up workers from Irkyal tanda at about 10.15 p.m. on Friday. Mr. Govind was among those who fell out of the truck and survived with minor injuries. The 108 Ambulance rushed to the spot even as he was helping the injured. An earthmover pulled the truck to one side and that was when they found bodies under the rice and bajra bags.

Dr Gurusiddappa, medical officer, Chachadi Primary Health Centre, said most of the injured were given first aid. He confirmed the passengers could not escape and suffocated to death.

District incharge minister Satish Jharkiholi, who visited the spot, said the families of the dead would be given Rs 1 lakh. "This accident should not have occurred. I will instruct police and transport authorities to keep an eye on these trucks. The government will provide free treatment to the injured," he added. Small scale industries minister Prakash Hukkeri also visited the spot.

The bodies were shifted to the Murgod hospital mortuary, and a couple of doctors summoned to conduct the postmortem.

Sunday 17 November 2013


Post a Comment