Hyderabad, July 25: The father of a child caught in yesterday’s Hyderabad school bus tragedy discovered today that his son was alive, a day after being handed the body of another kid whose parents were told he lay injured in hospital.
The mix-up, blamed on “confusion” because most bodies were disfigured, meant a “rebirth” for Darshan Goud but a double blow to the parents of Dattu who had already lost their daughter in the school bus’s collision with a train at an unmanned crossing.
Coincidentally, word about Darshan came as he turned six in hospital where he snapped out of coma today and told doctors his name. The disclosure stunned officials of Hyderabad’s Yashoda Hospital who had last evening handed Darshan’s father Dattu’s body.
The police had to exhume the body, which Darshan’s father Swamy Goud had buried believing it to be his son’s. According to local customs, children’s bodies are buried, not cremated.
“I fainted and could not recognise the body shown to me as the face was disfigured. Assuming it was my son’s, I took it and performed the last rites. As I was in shock, I got confused between Darshan and Dattu,” Swamy said.
Telangana minister T. Harish Rao blamed the mix-up on “confusion” but said for Darshan, it was “like a rebirth”.
However, Dattu’s parents Veerababu and Neerja were crestfallen, having already lost Bhuvana, Dattu’s elder sister.
The siblings went to the same private Kakatiya Techno School, 5km from the collision site in Medak district of Telangana, 40km from Hyderabad.
Sixteen children had died in the accident and 19 were injured, three of whom were today described as being “very critical” by doctors at Yashoda Hospital.
The police are probing divergent versions, including one that suggested the stand-in driver was speaking on a cellphone.
Other officials said the driver, who was killed along with the cleaner, had taken a “short cut”, skipping two other routes nearby with manned crossings.
The drivers of the Nanded-Hyderabad passenger claimed they had “constantly” sounded the horn and braked to avoid hitting the school bus, adding the vehicle “came out of nowhere”.
“We could not do anything. We were helpless,” Satyanarayana and Koteswar Rao, beaten up by the crowd at the crash site, told a TV channel today.