At least 17 people, including a woman and three children, were killed and around half a dozen others were injured when a speeding truck rammed into a tempo before overturning on a van in Roza area of Shahjahanpur district on Tuesday morning.
Eyewitnesses said that after the speeding truck rammed into the tempo from behind, it fell on a Tata Magic van, which was moving ahead of the tempo and was filled with passengers, leaving the people trapped under the truck.
Prima facie, police said, the truck driver fell asleep and lost control, thereby causing the accident.
The truck driver, however, managed to escape and is absconding, they added. “People helped the police to rescue the victims. The injured have been sent to a local hospital. All the arrangements have been made there. I along with the District Magistrate visited the spot,” said Superintendent of Police (Shahjahanpur) Shivasimpi Channappa.
According to a senior police officer, the truck, carrying a consignment of clothes, was coming from Sitapur, while the tempo with 4-5 passengers was on its way to Shahjahanpur town from Bartara. The van was on its way to Bahadurganj.
After the accident, cranes were brought in to lift the mangled remains of the vehicle to retrieve the bodies. Bareilly Division Commissioner Ranvir Prasad said a magisterial inquiry would be conducted to ascertain if the accident was a result of the truck driver’s laxity or any problem in the vehicle. He said it would also be probed if the vehicles ferrying passengers had a valid permit.
Prasad and Deputy Inspector General Rajesh Kumar Pandey also visited the accident site and the hospital to enquire about the health of the injured.
Of the 17 deceased, seven have been identified so far. They are Aarti (35), her son Aman (7), Balram (50), Totaram (45), Aaliya (3) Harshit (10) and Vinod (40).
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the district administration to provide financial help to the families of the deceased and make necessary arrangements for the treatment of the victims, an official said.