Visakhapatnam: The Vizag rural police on Saturday registered a case against the bus driver, Gurrampalli Srisailam, who they said is responsible for the death of four people and injuries to 22 people in the bus accident on the Araku ghat road in Vizag Agency on Friday night.
The tourist bus plunged into a gorge that was 80 feet below the ghat road at a spot in between Damuku and Tyda villages under the Ananthagiri police station limits. Superintendent of Police, Vizag Rural, B. Krishna Rao said that the deceased were identified as Kottam Saritha (38), Kottam Satyanarayana (50), Kottam Nitya (8 months) and Kottam Latha (45).
The persons who suffered injuries in the incident are Kottam Chandrakala, Kottam Naresh Kumar, Kottam Swapna, Kottam Sivani, Kottam Devansh, Kottam Aravind Kumar, Kottam Maniswini, Kottam Sanvi, Kottam Vihan, Kottam Mounika, Kottam Ayush, Kottam Sailaja, Kottam Hithish, Kottam Muthum Saitha, Munna, Kottam Jyothi, Kottam Kalyani, Kottam Abhiram, L. Nanda Kishore and Kottam Anitha. The driver G. Srisailam was also injured in the incident.
According to the police, 26 members of a family from Hyderabad hired a bus by Dinesh Travels on 10 February. They visited Kanakadurga temple in Vijayawada and later they visited the Annavaram temple on 11 February. After Annavaram, they came to Vizag and visited the Simhachalam temple on 12 February. They also visited Borra Caves and Araku Valley on the same day. The incident took place when they were returning from Araku.
A pall of gloom descended on the Seetanagar area of Shaikpet in Hyderabad as news spread about the accident of the family of Kottam Satyanarayana, a retired State Bank of India employee.
Srisailam said that brake failure was the reason for the fatal accident but the police suspect that in addition to low visibility along the route Srisailam might have been over speeding and he could not control the bus since he was drowsy.
"We will examine the brake system and other parts of the ill-fated vehicle to ascertain the exact reasons for the accident," said deputy transport commissioner, Vizag, G.C. Raja Ratnam. Inspector of Police, Araku Valley, P. Pydaiah said that the police have observed that the driver seemed to be inexperienced in negotiating the vehicle on the ghat road. The driver also looked tired from the constant travel three days prior to the accident.
The passengers in the bus alleged that the driver's inexperience was the reason for the accident, he added. However, the driver dismissed the allegations and claimed that he is experienced, and insisted that the failure of the brake was the reason for the accident.
The police said that since the driver was receiving treatment for his injuries, he will be arrested after he is discharged from the hospital. The police registered a case against the driver under sections 304 A 338 337 of IPC.
All the injured have been shifted to the KG Hospital in Vizag, where the condition of two people is said to be critical. Officials from Telangana came to Vizag and made arrangements to shift the dead bodies to Telangana following the post mortem process.