A tourist bus carrying over 50 schoolchildren from Himachal Pradesh crashed against a divider near a toll gate on the Yamuna Expressway, killing the driver and injuring 36 children on Friday morning.
An eyewitness said the bus was speeding and its front tyres burst, after which it hit the road divider. Constable Prem Singh, who saw the accident happen at 9.33 am, said: “The bus was speeding and the front tyres burst. The whole vehicle shook and crashed into a divider. The bus driver was thrown off the wheel and crashed out of the left window on to the road. The bus had tilted towards the left and the vehicle fell on the driver, killing him on the spot.”
Of the 30 injured children, seven are said to be in a critical condition. Many of them suffered lacerations and limb fractures. Some of the students had bleeding head injuries. The hand of a student, identified as Abhishek Thakur, had to be amputated. The fingers of another student, Abhinav Ram, were severed. A cook, Pushp, lost a leg .
Agra SSP Amit Pathak said: “The injured students were taken to five hospitals in Agra.”
The bus, carrying students from Mandi district to Agra on a two-day educational trip, was driven by Harish, believed to be in his late 50s . His employer, Rohit Raghuvanshi of Golden Tours and Travels, said Harish has joined his company a week ago and had been driving tourist buses for 25 years.
Two 57-seater tourist buses were carrying 106 students of the Alok Bharti School to a hotel near the Taj Mahal, which they were going to see later.
The buses had stopped for 30 minutes at Chandigarh as the shift of the drivers changed and Harish reported for duty. “The bus which met with the accident had mostly girl students from Classes VI to XII. There were some boys also on that bus,” said Hari Singh Thakur, the chairman of the school.
The students said many were asleep when the accident happened. The jolt woke them up and before they could realise what had happened, glass shards of broken windowpanes had cut their faces and the luggage had fallen on their heads. “I broke my hand while my friends had cuts across their faces,” said Navneet , a Class IX student.