Rajahmundry: In a major mishap, 22 people including 8 women and 7 children, were killed after a vehicle in which they were travelling fell into Godavari river after hitting the railing of Sir Arthur Cotton barrage at Dowleswaram in Andhra Pradesh.
DSP Rajahmundry Urban, Ambika Prasad said 23 people were returning home after pilgrimage from Tirupati to Achyuthapuram in Visakhapatnam district.
Citing preliminary information, a police official at the spot said, “A group of people were returning from Tirupati after visiting the temple. The vehicle driver might have dozed off and hit a wall of the bridge. The vehicle fell down nearly 30 feet upon the concrete slab meant to protect the barrage from getting washed away during heavy floods.”
However, the water-level at the point of accident was very shallow, he said.
People travelling in the vehicle were fast asleep and died on the spot.
Some local fishermen noticed the vehicle and alerted the police who rushed to the spot and began with the rescue operation.
A girl and a boy survived the mishap but subsequently the girl succumbed to her injuries while undergoing medical treatment at a government hospital. The victims had to wait for about 4 hours to get any help from the locals and the police. The lone survivor in the mishap is identified as E. Kiran Kumar.
Andhra Pradesh Deputy chief minister and Home Minister, N. Chinna Rajappa and Rajahmundry Urban SP, S. Harikrishna rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
Chinna Rajappa said, “The mishap might have occurred as the driver was sleepy and was driving at high speed.”
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu condoled the death and ordered a probe.
YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy expressed shock and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of 22 pilgrims, terming the incident “saddening and unfortunate”.
“Loss of lives due to a bus accident in East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh is saddening and unfortunate. My deepest condolences,” the Prime Minister said.