AT LEAST 31 people were killed and as many injured when their truck fell off a bridge near Ranghola village of Bhavnagar district on the Rajkot-Bhavnagar state highway, early on Tuesday morning. According to police, around 60 people were travelling in the truck from Anida village to attend a wedding ceremony in Totam village of Botad district. The truck fell off a bridge near Ranghola at around 7:30 am.
Superintendent of police of Bhavnagar district, PL Mal told The Indian Express, “25 of them died on the spot, one of the injured died on way to a hospital. We do not know as yet the exact number of injured but according to primary information, more than 50 persons were travelling in the truck.” Mal added, “Prima facie, the driver of the truck lost control due to drowsiness, leading to the accident.”
According to the police, the driver lost control and the truck fell in a rivulet, around 20 feet deep.
Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja said that the deceased included four children and eight women. He added that eight people were reported to be in a critical condition. He informed the state Assembly that 26 people had died on the spot.
“The truck fell on a concrete base under the bridge. The injured people have been shifted to a hospital in Bhavnagar,” Jadeja said.
Officials of the district administration as well as people from nearby villages rushed to the accident spot to rescue the victims, Jadeja said, adding that officials from nearby police stations also reached the spot and ambulances were called in to shift the injured and the bodies to a hospital in Bhavnagar.
Bhavnagar district collector Harshad Patel said that the injured had been rushed to hospitals in nearby Timbi village and Bhavnagar city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident, while Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ordered an inquiry and announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each deceased.
Prime Minister Modi tweeted, “My condolences to all those who lost their loved ones due to an accident near Ranghola in Gujarat. The accident was extremely unfortunate and anguishing. May those who have been injured recover at the earliest.”
According to a state government release, the chief minister has announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased from the CM’s Relief Fund and ordered an inquiry into the accident. Rupani expressed grief over the incident and prayed for the departed souls, the release stated.
(With PTI inputs)