| A relative holds a picture of the victims (circled). The man at the centre is among the injured. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
Calcutta, Jan. 27: Five members of a family were killed on their way back from Ganga Sagar last night when their Tata Sumo fell into a ditch after hitting a roadside tree.
The driver of the speeding vehicle swerved towards the tree to save a cyclist who had come in his way near Lot 8, about 110 km from here, police said. Eight persons, including the cyclist, Biman Bihari Jana, were injured. The driver is absconding.
The dead were identified as Durga Agarwal (65), Munni Devi (45), Santara Agarwal (60), Momraj Agarwal (45) and Riddhi Agarwal (4). They were returning from the temple of Kapil Muni in Ganga Sagar.
Munni Devi and granddaughter Riddhi were residents of Rabindra Sarani in north Calcutta. The others had come from Mumbai and Burdwan to attend a wedding on Tuesday.
Drawn by the victims’ cries, villagers came running to the spot. They pulled out the family members trapped under the Sumo and rushed them to a local hospital, where five of them were declared dead on arrival. The injured were later shifted to a Calcutta hospital.
An elderly man, who was a witness to the tragedy, said the police arrived only after the eight had been taken to hospital.
A preliminary probe revealed “reckless” driving was responsible for the accident, superintendent of police S.N. Gupta said, adding that a hunt is on for the driver.
“We are probing if there was any lapse on the part of the driver. Most people drive recklessly on the road to the temple without caring for traffic rules,” Gupta said.