Ever since the UP Roadways bus plunged into a drain on the Yamuna Expressway early Monday morning, six-year-old Yuvraj has barely spoken. Seated next to his injured mother Sunita (25) on the hospital bed, he keeps looking for his one-year-old sister Riya and their father Bhanu Pratap.
Of the 54 people on board, 29 died in the accident — including Riya and Bhanu Pratap. Yuvraj survived with a single scratch on his right toe.
The bus left from Lucknow around 10.30 pm Sunday, and was expected to reach Delhi by 7 am.
“We were returning from our village in Raebareli after summer holidays. Riya was on my lap and Yuvraj next to me when the bus crashed into a divider and I woke up. I don’t remember anything after that. I don’t know where my husband and daughter are,” said Sunita.
The ticket for the AC bus cost Rs 782 each, and it made a stop around 12.45 am at a food plaza. Dileep Srivastava (35) was on his way to Delhi for a meeting and was asleep like almost everyone else when the bus hit a divider. “After the crash, I couldn’t open my eyes but I could hear blood-curdling cries. I could feel the driver trying to control the vehicle after it hit the divider. I don’t know who rescued me or how I reached the hospital,” Srivastava, who escaped with minor injuries, said.
At the spot lay blood-stained shoes, scattered mangoes, water bottles and the vehicle’s number plate. The remains of the bus had been taken out by a crane and stationed opposite Chhalesar police chowki.
Outside the ICU at Chauhan Hospital in Agra, Madhvi Tripathi (31) sat with her 40-day-old girl. “My husband Arunendra Nath Tripathi was returning from Lucknow to Delhi after visiting a relative… I spoke to him at 1.30 am. We got a call at 9.30 am from the hospital that he was injured,” she said.
Hemant Kumar Pandey (66), a retired textile engineer, was returning to Delhi after visiting his mother in Lucknow. At 10 pm Sunday, he spoke to his son Prashant about having boarded the bus. Hours later, he lay on a hospital bed with multiple fractures.
“He’s too traumatised to talk but he said he saw a lot of blood in the bus and that the screams didn’t stop till they were taken to the hospital,” said Prashant.