A UP Roadways employee, a 23-year-old breadwinner, a one-year-old girl, a father visiting his son, a mathematics tutor and a 24-year-old on a holiday — these are among the 29 men, women and children who died Monday morning when the speeding bus they were in plunged into a canal on the Yamuna Expressway.
Outside the mortuary at Agra’s SN Medical College sat inconsolable family members. By 9 pm, post-mortems of 10 victims had been conducted, and permission to continue at night had been given.
With three younger siblings and their mother to look after, Ariba Khan (23) left Lucknow Sunday night for a job interview in Delhi. “Her father died last year… she has been working since then to support her family. Now that she’s gone, who will support her siblings?” said her cousin Yousuf.
Yamuna Expressway bus accident | Killer combination- Speeding and dozing off at the wheel
Mohd Sohail (25) found it difficult to recognise his uncle Muzamil’s body at the hospital. “I recognised him by a silver ring,” he said. Muzamil (35) was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi to meet a client for his furniture business with his associate Aakash Srivastav (28), who also died.
Rajender Singh (53), a technician at 505 Army Base workshop at Delhi Cantt, was returning home after completing the last rites of his father-in-law, when he died in the accident. “When he didn’t show up for work at 8 am, we called up his family… then we saw the news and realised he was in the bus. The family got a call at 9.30 am from officials,” said his colleague Prahlad Singh.
Victims also included frequent Lucknow-Delhi travellers Sudhir Mishra (52) and Satyaprakash Tiwari (37). While Mishra was a BSNL officer posted in Delhi for six months and travelled to Lucknow every weekend to be with his wife, Tiwari was a math teacher who shuttled between coaching institutes in the two cities.
“Sudhir would always take the train or a Volvo bus. This time, he didn’t get a reservation,” said his friend Kush Agarwal.
Also travelling by the bus was Manoj Kumar (32), a UP Roadways employee posted in Noida. “He used to be a conductor but became a booking clerk a few years ago. He got married last year,” said his colleague Ashok Kumar. His wife Lilavati last spoke to him at 1 am.
Delhi-based electrical engineer Hazoor Alam (30) was returning from Lucknow after dropping off his wife at her parents’ house.
“They got married last year and left for Lucknow Saturday… he couldn’t stay for long as he had to get back to work,” said his friend Surender Pal.
Sidharth Dubey (22) was going to begin training for a job in Delhi’s Pitampura. His father Rajesh, a plywood worker, said he bought his son a new phone worth Rs 15,000. “We’ve lost everything now. He was our future… he was 15 days into his training and was home because he had a competitive exam,” said his father.