Six persons were killed on the spot, three died in hospital and 12 were injured when the passenger vehicle they were travelling by rammed a retaining wall and fell into a ditch near Somasamudra Cross on State Highway 19 (SH 19) in Bellary on Monday afternoon.
There were 20 people besides the driver going from Kurgodu to Bellary in the vehicle when the accident occurred.
Venkatesh, an eyewitness, told The Hindu that locals rushed to help the victims soon after they heard a loud sound of the vehicle falling into the ditch and people screaming. He said the injured were shifted to VIMS Hospital in two 108 ambulances.
An injured person is said to have told the police that the accident occurred when the driver tried to take out some small change from his pocket to hand it over to the cleaner.
The police identified the six persons who died on the spot as Venkatesh (38), the driver of the vehicle who was a resident of Kurgodu; Ambamma (50), Renukamma (45) and Avi (12), all from Jalibenchi village; Lakshmamma (38) of Chintakunta village; and Basavaraj (50). Sadashiva (57) of Bellary died on the way to hospital and Sirisha (3) and Phani Prasad succumbed to injuries at the hospital.
The injured persons were identified as Lakshmamma’s husband Veeresh, Lingappa, Hanumanthappa, Basavaraj, Ashok, Neelappa, Ramesh (cleaner), Nagaraj, Maresh, Eeramma, Andral Mareppa and Manjunath Reddy.
Veeresh and Basavaraj are said to be in serious condition.
Superintendent of Police Chandragupta, Additional Superintendent of Police C.K. Baba, and Deputy Superintendent of Police (Bellary Rural) Rudramuni visited the spot.
Kuditini police have registered a case.