22 of same family killed as van falls into Andhra river

22 of same family killed as van falls into Andhra river

The overcrowded vehicle fell at a depth of 25 to 30 feet. As there was no water, almost all people died on the spot due to the impact of the crash.

By P S Jayaram

Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 5:53 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:57 PM

Hyderabad — In a major tragedy, 22 pilgrims including nine women and seven children died when the van in which they were travelling plunged into the Godavari river after crashing through the railings of the Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowleswaram, near Rajahmundry, in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh late on Friday night.

The mishap, which is believed to have occurred around 11pm on Friday, came to light only in the wee hours of Saturday when local fishermen spotted the vehicle and alerted the police and the 108 ambulance service.

The pilgrims were all relatives belonging to five families from Masaipeta village in Atchuthapuram mandal in Visakhapatnam district. They were returning home from Tirupati when the mishap occurred, police said, adding that the driver was probably sleepy and did not realise that there was a narrowing of the road where the bridge started. While 21 persons died on the spot when the vehicle hit the knee-deep waters, one child succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at a government hospital. A 13-year-old boy Kiran who survived the mishap is undergoing treatment and his condition is said to be stable.

Police said that since the river had only knee deep water, the vehicle which plunged from a height of 30-35 feet resulted in the instant death of 21 passengers. It is suspected that the vehicle driver, also one of the family members, was sleepy and did not notice the narrowing of the road resulting in the vehicle crashing through the railings. The bodies have been shifted to the government hospital for post-mortem and they will be handed over to the kin of the deceased upon their arrival from Masaipeta.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, expressing shock over the incident, directed the district authorities to rush to the spot and provide all help. Deputy Chief Minister N Chinnarajappa rushed to the spot to console the bereaved family members. He has also ordered a probe into the accident.

“Deeply saddened about the tragic death of 22 people travelling in a van after it fell off Dowleswaram bridge. I am monitoring the situation. Spoke to our home minister who visited the spot. We are providing all possible help,” Naidu tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death of 22 pilgrims, terming the incident as “saddening and unfortunate”.


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