Tragedy struck a group of 23 tourists from Telangana State when a bus they were travelling in veered off the Araku ghat road near Ananthagiri on Friday and fell 80 feet, leaving four dead on the spot and the remaining with grievous injuries. According to the police, the accident occurred when the tourist bus, belonging to Dinesh Travels, Nalgonda, was negotiating a sharp turn at Dumuku hamlet near Ananthagiri village on its way from the picturesque Araku valley.
The tourists, most of them relatives and friends, had toured Vijayawada, Annavaram and Simhachalam before heading to Araku. One of the tourists from Hyderabad on the ill-fated bus said: “We toured most of the temples. Later, we planned to see Araku. As it was getting dark, we wanted to stay back. However, the bus driver said they would have to leave by night.” The mishap occurred at around 5 pm in the evening when the tourists were returning from Araku Valley.
“The driver seemed inexperienced as his driving was risky. The owner of the travels should have sent an experienced driver to drive on ghat road,” she said. One of the bus staff said that brake failure led to the accident. Meanwhile, Vizag Rural police chief B Krishna Rao confirmed that four people died on the spot and 19 were injured. “We have received information that four people died. The bus carrying them fell into a gorge. Our teams have reached the spot for rescue operations,” Visakhapatnam range DIG Ranga Rao said.
Another senior police official said rescue operations by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and state Fire Service personnel were on. The police said the victims were yet to be identified as the cops were busy in relief operations. According to the police, the bus was carrying 23 passengers, all from Nalgonda in Telangana. The condition of some of the injured passengers is said to be critical.