Hyderabad: In one of the biggest tragedies involving schoolchildren, 16 persons, including 14 children, were killed at an unmanned level-crossing near Masaipet of Veldurthi mandal of Medak district in Telangana when a speeding train hit a school bus on Thursday morning.
Witnesses told the police that the driver of the bus was wearing ear phones probably listening to music or talking on his mobile phone — and tried to cross the track while a train was coming, resulting in a side on-collision.
Among the 14 children who died, eight are boys and six are girls, all aged below 12 years. Most of them were Nursery, Lower KG and Upper KG students.
The Nanded-Secunderabad passenger train hit the bus number AP 23 X 5349 carrying 34 children of Kakatiya Techno School of Toopran in the Secun-derabad-Nizamabad railway section. The vehicle was dragged at least 100 metres.
Due to the force of the collision, bodies were thrown out of the bus into the bushes by the side of the track. The bus ended up a bloodstained mangled heap.
Schoolbags, books, tiffin boxes and water bottles were scattered on the side of the track and entangled in the wreckage.
Despite the children raising an alarm about the fast-approaching train, the driver failed to stop the bus, said sources. The children stuck in the wreckage were removed by locals.
Thirteen of them died on the spot and the others were shifted to the hospital.
At the accident site, 100 metres from the national highway, heart rending scenes were witnessed with inconsolable parents and relatives.
Bodies were thrown out of the bus into the bushes
The tragedy occurred at Masaipet village of Telangana’s Medak district
Hired driver took short cut when accident happened. Both the helper and driver died.
Mishap took place at 9.10 am. The bus carried 34 students.
Heart-rending scenes, wailing parents at bus crash site near Hyderabad
Medak/Hyderabad: Mangled remains of a school bus with blood stains on it, strewn bags, tiffin boxes, notebooks and text books was all it remained on the accident site of the bus-train collision in which 19 persons, including 17 school children, were killed in Telangana’s Medak district this morning.
A pall of gloom descended on Islampet village, where most of the boys and girl students had boarded the ill-fated bus, which was hit by a passenger train.
he accident spot at an unmanned railway level crossing between Masayipet and Wadiaram railway stations echoed the painful and emotional outpouring of the near and dear ones of the students, in the age group of 5-15 years, whose lives were snuffed out.
The locals were the first to rush to the accident spot in large numbers and contributed in the rescue efforts. They tried to remove debris so that children who were entangled in the shattered remains of the bus could be rescued.
“I heard a big thud and came out of my house. I saw the bus was being dragged by the train. Immediately we sent a message for ambulance and reached the railway track. We managed to rescue some students,” said a villager of Masayipet who lives near the accident spot.
“I was sleeping when he (Vamsi) was going to school. My father gave him send off and dropped to the school bus,” said inconsolably crying father of Vamsi, who died in the accident.
Medak In-charge Collector A Sharat said they received reports that the bus driver was talking over phone while driving at the unmanned railway crossing.
He, however, said it has to be verified and facts will be known only after a thorough inquiry.
Reacting to other reports that the driver was hurrying to the school, police said these matters are under thorough investigation.
Earlier, hundreds of villagers staged road-blockade and held a sit-in near the mishap site.
Actor Pavan Kalyan said both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments should form a committee with public representatives to look into the issues of the unmanned level crossings in both the states.
“The governments should ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future,” he said, after visiting a private hospital in Hyderabad where the injured school children were undergoing treatment.
Doctors treating the injured children at a corporate hospital in Hyderabad said they are doing all kinds of medical tests and said several of them had suffered multiple fractures on different parts of their bodies.
The children are under observation and some of them are in serious condition, they said.