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Driver dies, 11 injured as bus plunges off bridge

Staff Correspondent

The accident occurred near Uppinangady

— PHOTO: ANISHA SHETH

FATAL:The KSRTC bus that plunged from a bridge in Uppinangady, about 50 km from Mangalore,

MANGALORE: Bus driver Bheemappa Rathore (35) died and 11 persons were injured when a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus plying on the Bangalore-Mangalore route plunged into a stream near Uppinangady, about 50 km from here, on Friday.

The incident occurred around 4.15 a.m. when the bus had crossed the Kootelu bridge in Uppinangady on NH 48 and was taking a sharp turn to cross another bridge. The bus hit the parapet of the bridge and plunged into the stream about 30 feet below.

Rescue act

Local people who arrived at the spot within minutes of hearing a loud thud rescued the passengers.

U.K. Ayub, who lives near the site of the accident, said, “As soon as I heard the noise, I woke up my children and we came to help. We brought torches. It was raining lightly. I immediately called the police and Fire Services.”

Another man, who was one of the first to reach the spot, Mohammad Kootelu, said, “Luckily there was very little water in the stream. We were able to go down using a small path and bring people up to the road.”

Dangerous stretch

Many residents of the area told The Hindu that this particular stretch of the highway was very dangerous because of sharp curves lined by trees that block the view. U.K. Ibrahim, a member of the Uppinangady gram panchayat, said, “We have tried for years to find a solution to this problem. But the National Highways Authority of India does not listen to us and the Forest Department says it cannot remove the trees because the road belongs to the NHAI.” In the last two weeks alone three accidents have occurred in the same area.

Officials of the Uppinangady police station and Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, visited the spot.

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