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20 die in TN bus tragedy

PTI

Chennai

A road crash in Tamil Nadu early Thursday left 20 dead and 28 injured as a lorry collided with their bus reducing it to a mangled heap.

Police said the accident occurred on the Salem-Kochi highway at Avinashi in Tirupur around 4 am as the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus was proceeding to Ernakulam from Bengaluru.

Most of the passengers were asleep when the lorry crashed into the bus.

The tiles-laden container lorry’s tyre burst and it entered the wrong lane colliding with the bus, reducing the vehicle to a mangled heap, police said.

The 20, including six women, died at the scene while the injured were admitted to hospitals in Tirupur and some referred to Coimbatore, police said.

Palakkad superintendent of police Siva Vikram said, “It was a high speed collision. The container lorry went out of control.” There were 48 passengers on board the bus. The lorry suffered a tyre burst before colliding with the KSRTC bus, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said in the state assembly, adding, all the victims were Keralites. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Palaniswami, and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the deaths.

“Extremely anguished by the bus accident… In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. I hope those who are injured recover at the earliest,” the PM’s Office said in a tweet quoting Modi.

Though reports initially suggested the bus was proceeding towards Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, officials later clarified its destination was Ernakulam.

Palaniswami said he has asked the Tirupur administration to coordinate with their Palakkad counterparts, to expedite activities including sending the bodies of the deceased to Kerala.

Further, 23 people were seriously injured and were undergoing treatment while five others sustained simple injuries and were proceeding to Kerala, he said.

“I have directed the Tirupur collector and police officials there to set up a help centre to assist the relatives of the victims and also expedite the process of sending the bodies of the deceased by contacting Kerala officials,” he said.

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