Dhaniakhali (Hooghly), Nov. 30: Nine persons, including a woman and two children, were crushed to death and 23 injured when the bus they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck near here on the Durgapur Expressway at 7.30 am today.
Five passengers died on the spot.
The bus was returning from Uhkura in Nadia, where the passengers had gone to attend a wedding, to Bhabanipur village in Hooghly’s Dadpur police station area, when it collided barely 10 km from its destination.
Residents of the area took the injured to the nearby rural hospital from where they were referred to the district hospital in Chinsurah. The condition of three persons, including the driver of the bus, is stated to be critical.
Acting police superintendent Chanchal Dutta said the bus, which was carrying 75 passengers and travelling very fast, collided with a truck that had suddenly swerved to avoid a car. The impact pushed the bus back almost 30 yards.
“We have arrested the truck driver, who had possibly dozed off and did not see the car till the last moment,” Dutta said.
The driver, Harishchand Mouria, had climbed out of the truck, bleeding and was beaten up by residents of the area. Police picked him up from a house in which he had taken shelter.
The five who died on the spot are Jayanta Pal (9), Manmath Mondal (13), Krishna Mondal (35), Santanu Kumar (32) and Raghu Das (25). Basudeb Kumar (36), Rabin Ghosh (34), and Suresh Mondal (17) later succumbed to injuries in Chinsurah, while Manoj Ghosh (25) died after being admitted to Calcutta Medical College Hospital.
Chhabi Pal, who was returning from her nephew Dipak Pal’s wedding, said they had started their journey at 4 am. “When we were on the Durgapur Expressway, I noticed a truck right in front of the bus. There was a huge sound and I blacked out,” an injured Chhabi Pal said at Chinsurah hospital.
The officers in-charge of the Dhaniakhali and Dadpur police station soon reached the spot to supervise rescue operations. The injured climbed out of the bus, which had a gaping hole in the front.