The minibus that hit two taxis and triggered a series of crashes on Howrah bridge on Monday. (Picture by B. Halder)
A minibus descending from Howrah bridge towards the city rammed into two taxis from behind on Monday morning, triggering a pile-up involving three other vehicles.
Police said the two taxis hit by the bus crashed into two more taxis, one of which went on to strike a car.
Two women on the bus suffered head and leg injuries and a woman in one of the taxis hurt her spine.
The bus passengers — Krishna Giri, 60 and daughter Prabhati Baria, 40 — were admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. Doctors said their condition was stable. The taxi passenger, 24-year-old Khushbu Losalka, was discharged after first-aid.
Police said the mother-daughter duo were sitting on the front seat of the bus. Both were flung off their seats under the impact of the crash. Giri’s head hit against a metal plate behind the driver’s seat, while Baria fell on the floor of the bus.
An officer of North Port police station said the bus (WB19D 5301) on the Howrah station-Garia station route was travelling at a high speed while descending from Howrah bridge towards Burrabazar around 11.40am.
“The bus rammed into two taxis which had slowed down because of a snarl. The bus driver had possibly managed to stop the vehicle after hitting the taxis, or else there could have been a bigger accident,” the officer said.
An officer who had gone to the spot after the accident said the boots of the two taxis hit by the minibus had dented. The other three cars suffered minor scratches. The bus driver and conductor fled, leaving the vehicle behind.
The pile-up slowed down traffic on the bridge for more than half an hour till cops were able to tow away the bus to the police station. The taxis and the cars could be driven down to the police station.
The police said the speed limit on Howrah bridge was 40km per hour. Witnesses, however, told the police that the bus was moving at a speed much more than the limit.
“We looking for the driver. A few of the bus passengers have said it was trying to overtake a bus on the same route,” said the officer.