| coffin on wheels: The shattered bus at Bally. Picture by Amit Datta
Bally, Sept. 16: A bus speeding on a bridge and another trying to roar past, ramming into a railing with a boom and crashing 40 feet below.
'It was all over in five seconds,' summed up 40-year-old Gopal Parui, who runs a tea-stall at the Bally Halt bus stop on Delhi Road.
Parui witnessed the accident happening 30 feet away as he brewed tea this morning.
'A bus on the Kamalpur-Barasat route was approaching Bally Halt around 10.05 am. Another bus, on the Dunlop-Panchla route, coming from the Dakshineswar end of Bally bridge (Vivekananda Setu), was trailing it. It is a common sight here ' buses trying to outspeed others to get more passengers,' said Parui.
'To overtake the other bus, the second vehicle took a sharp turn and went in a diagonally opposite direction and into the railing'. I saw it all,' Parui added.
As onlookers standing at the tea-stall screamed in horror, the bus went down.
'It did a somersault in the air and as soon as it landed, the driver's door was thrown open. He jumped out and fled. There were cries of help from inside and people rushed towards the overturned vehicle,' Parui said.
Gautam Manna, a student of Lalbaba College in Howrah, who stays at Bally Halt, said: 'I was on my way to college and waiting on Delhi Road to catch a bus. I saw the vehicle coming from Dakshineswar '. It was trying to overtake another bus.
'Both were travelling at great speed and the driver of the bus attempting to steer past the one in front lost control. The vehicle landed on the construction site of the second Vivekananda bridge.'
Pervez Alam, who boarded the bus from Barasat, said the driver started speeding suddenly before Bally Halt.
'I had found a seat, but couldn't see anything ahead of me as the bus was very crowded. I felt a sudden jerk and then weightless. Before I could think of anything else, some 10 people landed on me,' Alam said, lying in a bed at Uttarpara State General Hospital with multiple injuries.