Mysore/Mysuru: Over 15 passengers — all senior citizens — of a tourist double-deck bus from Gujarat sustained injuries when the driver lost control over the vehicle in a hairpin bend and as a result, the bus fell into a deep gorge in the Male Mahadeshwara (MM) Hill Range this morning.
The bus, with a sitting and sleeping deck, had over 40 senior citizens and they had come on a South India tour. After finishing their Mysuru trip, they headed towards MM Hills and after the darshan of the presiding deity, they were heading towards Palar in Tamil Nadu.
The route has many hairpin bends and the bus driver could not manoeuvre the huge-bodied vehicle in the second hairpin bend at around 8 am. While negotiating the curve, one of the wheels slid towards the gorge. Due to the sudden sliding of the wheel, the bus rolled into the deep gorge and the rear portion landed on the road below the hairpin bend.
Eyewitnesses said that fortunately, the elders escaped with minor injuries as the accident took place in the second hairpin bend. The third, fourth and fifth hairpin bends are further steep and all of them have deeper and rocky ravines. An accident there would have caused more damage and loss of lives, the eyewitnesses said.
Soon after the accident, other commuters and local villagers shifted the injured to the Male Mahadeshwara Primary Health Centre (PHC). The elders are shell-shocked due to their age factor and it is yet to be decided if they want to continue their trip further south or return to Gujarat.
The patients have been advised a day’s rest before they decide on their travel plans. The bus agent is making alternative transport arrangements for the tourists as the bus in which they began their trip is mangled and needs a new body built. Male Mahadeshwara Hills Inspector Basavaraju and team visited the accident spot.
It may be recalled here that on Jan. 6, the alert driver of a tourist bus from Gujarat averted a major accident as fire was noticed in the vehicle atop Chamundi Hill.
The bus was carrying 50 tourists and a fire started erupting from the silencer due to a fuel leak. The fire was, however, immediately noticed by the alert driver. He turned off the ignition and alerted the passengers who alighted in no time. Later, the leakage was plugged and the tourists resumed their journey.