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In a freak mishap, 14 persons were killed and 15 injured when a speeding lorry ploughed into a crowd and also knocked down a high tension power cable pole, leading to electrocution of several of them near Tirupati on Friday. The mishap occurred outside a police station at Yerpedu, about 30 km from Tirupati in Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh, where a group of 40 people from Munagala Palem village had assembled to lodge a complaint on illegal sand mining on the Swarnamukhi riverbed, the police said.
Eleven persons, including four women, died on the spot while three succumbed at the SVRR Government Hospital here where the injured were hospitalised initially, they said. The condition of six of the injured was stated to be critical, the hospital sources said. The injured, who included three local journalists covering the villagers’ visit to the police station, were later shifted to the TTD-run Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences here, which has better facilities.
The eyewitnesses said the lorry first ran over the crowd and then hit the electric pole, resulting in the overhead high-tension cable snapping and falling on the people. Some two-wheelers parked at the spot also caught fire after coming into contact with the live wire.
It was not clear as to how many persons were run over and how many of them were electrocuted or died of burns suffered in the fire, though eyewitnesses said at least four persons were run over by the lorry. At least four of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, the police said.
Chief Minister N Chanrababu Naidu expressed deep shock over the mishap and ordered the district administration to render full assistance to the victims, the official sources said. A report from Amaravati quoting an official release said Deputy Chief Minister N China Rajappa spoke to the Tirupati Superintendent of Police and directed that the injured be extended necessary medical treatment.