8 died, 40 injured as bus plunges into 100-ft valley near Tirupati


At least eight persons were killed and 40 persons sustained injuries when a bus which they were travelling in plunged into a 100-ft valley on Seshachalam ghat road in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district late on Sunday night, police said. The incident happened at around 10.30 pm at Bhakarapet between Madanapalle and Tirupati, a few kilometre from the pilgrim town of Tirupati. The victims include the driver and others belonging to a group of family and friends.

According to Tirupati (urban) police, around 50 members of a family and their friends from Dharmavaram were going to Tiruchanur, about 5 km from Tirupati town, in a private bus to attend an engagement ceremony of 28-year-old Malishetty Venu, scheduled on Sunday morning.

“After having their dinner at a dhaba at Pileru at around 9 pm, they left for their destination. After crossing Donakoti Gangamma temple on Bhakarapet ghat road on Seshachalam hills, the driver appeared to have lost control over the steering and the bus fell off the road and plunged into a deep valley,” a police official said. Since it was late at night and hardly any vehicles passed by the road, nobody noticed the accident for over two hours. “Moreover, there were no mobile signals deep in the valley to enable the survivors communicate with others,” the police said.

Late in the night, some travellers on the highway heard loud cries from the valley and alerted the Chandragiri police, who immediately rushed to the spot and took up the rescue operations. “Since it was the deep valley, the bus fell on the rocks and was badly mangled. Some of the inmates of the bus managed to come out of the bus with a lot of struggles, while others were crushed within the bus,” the police said.

Since it was pitched darkness and the valley was very deep, the police and the rescue team had to struggle a lot to bring out the survivors with the help of flood lights and torch lights. “By 1 am, we managed to bring out 26 persons from the bus and shift them to Sri Venkateshwara Ramachandra Ruia Hospital at Tirupati. As many as eight bodies have been recovered so far,” the official said.

Special police forces from Tirupati and Chandragiri, along with fire personnel took part in the rescue operations. Tirupati (urban) Superintendent of Police Ch Venkata Appala Naidu, who rushed to the accident spot, supervised the rescue operations.

Additional superintendent of police Supraja and other senior officials helped shift the bodies of the victims to the hospital.

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