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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

“Rash and negligent” driving caused Karikkakam accident

Staff Reporter

IG submits preliminary report to government


Two children in critical condition

Shanghumugham ACP to probe case


Thiruvananthapuram: “Rash and negligent” driving, speeding and a distracted driver speaking on his mobile phone, all at the same time, had caused the accident which resulted in the death of six persons, including five nursery school children and their caretaker, at Karikkakam last week, according to a preliminary investigation report filed by the police.

The tragedy had occurred when the Maruti Omni school van crammed with 11 persons, including the driver, lost control and plunged into the heavily polluted Parvathi Puthanar on February 17 morning.

Two of the survivors, Irfan and Rafiq, both aged four, were in a critical condition. A considerable amount of polluted water and sludge had entered their lungs, resulting in severe chest infection and pneumonia.

The children were on ventilator support at the intensive care unit of a private hospital.

The van was returning to school after picking up the children. The overloaded vehicle sped along the narrow road abutting the canal, struck the protruding root of a tree, flew off the motorway and plunged into the middle of the hyacinth- clogged canal.

There was no other vehicle on the road at the time. A bus conductor reported the accident to the police first.

Local residents jumped into the water and pushed the half-sunk van back to shore. The floating hyacinth mass had prevented the vehicle from sinking rapidly.

The police and local rescue workers suspended several sets of thick rope (fastened to trees on either side) over the canal and used them as safety lines to search the brackish waters below.

Van not registered

The police said the van was not registered as a school vehicle, its driver was inexperienced, it did not sport the yellow colour scheme mandatory for student carriers and was overloaded, which rendered its brakes and steering ineffective at high speed.

The law mandated that only a driver with not less than 10 years of experience should steer a school van. In this case, the 19-year-old driver of the van, Sumesh, earned his driving license recently and had barely a year of driving experience.

Inspector General of Police, Thiruvananthapuram Range, K. Padmakumar has conveyed his initial findings to the State.

He has ordered Assistant Commissioner, Shanghumugham, P. Reghu to investigate the case.

Sumesh was arrested on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The police said the van was registered in the name of the son of the owner of ‘Little Hearts' Nursery, Pettah, S. Shailaja.

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