Thanks to the heroic rescue efforts of the 40 local tribals in pitch darkness, many victims of the Araku ghat road mishap with serious head injuries could be brought up safely and rushed to nearby hospital for immediate medical attention. While cops arranged ambulances, the villagers managed to bring the people from the 80 ft deep gorge onto the Araku ghat road using torchlight.
The incident occurred around 7.15 pm in the evening, and the night was pitch black due to the new moon. As soon as they heard the sound of the bus crashing down, the local tribals rushed to the spot and reached it within 10 minutes. They managed to arrange torches to locate the victims and bring them up. Alerted, the cops also reached the spot within 10 to 15 minutes.
As it was pitch-black night in the gorge, the tribals found it difficult to trace the victims. With help of torchlight, and of the wails of the injured, they could reach the spot to witness the heart-wrenching sight of children crying loudly searching for their parents. With the help of the locals, the cops could bring up the bodies within an hour and initially rushed them to S. Kota hospital.
The local cops first tried to rescue the victims and later shifted the dead ones and identified them. “The local people here literally saved the day. Without them, it would have been difficult to rescue the victims in such a short time,” said a police officer, adding that the quick response that ensured treatment at the earliest saved many lives. The bus also apparently hit a tree before plunging into the gorge. “Had the bus fallen in the valley without crashing into the tree, all of us would have died,” said bus driver Srisailam.