Seven women were killed after a stationed tourist van, which was hit by a good lorry from behind, fell on them as they sat on a low-rise concrete divider on the Chennai-Bengaluru Highway (NH 44) in the wee hours of Monday.
The accident, which took place in Tamil Nadu’s Sandaipalli village near Tirupattur district’s Natrampalli town at around 2:40 am, injured 10 other people including the drivers of the van and the lorry. According to police, five of the injured were women.
The deceased, as reported by The Hindu, have been identified as — M. Meena (50), D Devayani (32), P Saittu (55), S Devika (50), V Savitri (42), K Kalavathi (50), and R Geetha (34). All of them belonged to Vellore’s Pernambut.
The deceased, travelling along with eight relatives from the Pernambut town, were on a trip from Saturday to visit pilgrims and tourist destinations in Karnataka’s Mysore and had rented two tourist vans for the same.
As the women were on their way back, one of the front wheels of one of the vans got punctured on the highway, which led to them getting off the bus and sitting on a one-foot-high concrete median close to the van. The danger lights and other lights of the van were functioning.
At the same time, the lorry’s driver 34-year-old P Arunachalam, who was carrying smartboards for classrooms in the vehicle, was en route to Chennai from Bengaluru. Arunachalam did not notice the parked van and hit it from behind, which then fell on the women and killed them on the spot.
Tirupathur Police officials speaking to news agency ANI said, “It was early morning with less visibility, and the van was stationary at a sharp turn, which could have been the reason for the speedy mini-truck’s collision with the van. In the incident, seven women were dead on the spot, and 10 people got critical injuries.”
The Natrampalli Police and NHAI patrol vehicles immediately reached the spot to rescue the injured.
Those who were injured had been shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Krishnagiri and Tirupattur and to the Government Taluk Hospital in Vaniyambadi, The Hindu reported. The bodies had been send to a government hospital in Tirupattur.
The Natrampalli Police has filed a case. Tirupattur Collector D Bhaskara Pandian also visited the families of the deceased at the hospital.