Calcutta, March 16: Three people were crushed to death today when a machine weighing more than 10 tonnes fell on them as the overloaded truck in which it was being carried toppled over.
Ram Baksh Yadav (58), Sitaram Nishad (38) and Sarabjit Ram (58) died with the first rescue attempt, in which the crane used was too light to pull the hydraulic bending machine up, failing. Later, four heavier cranes were brought and they struggled for nearly an hour to lift the weight.
All three died on the spot at Salt Lake’s EE island while Biswanath Yadav and Chhailu Ram, two other labourers who were also travelling on the truck, were injured and admitted to Bidhannagar subdivisional hospital. All five are from Uttar Pradesh.
Raja Sarkar and Pradyut Majumdar, returning home from their Sector V office, saw the accident take place.
“We were riding a two-wheeler and the truck was in front of us. It took a turn at EE island and we saw a wheel of the vehicle hit the rotary,” said Sarkar.
“Those on the truck tried to jump out. There was a big noise and we saw the machine falling from the vehicle.”
It appears the truck was overloaded, as is often the practice. Police officials said a six-wheel truck should not carry goods weighing over 10 tonnes, which the accident vehicle was doing.
Hari Prasad Yadav, the contractor who had hired the labourers, has been arrested. “He was on the truck and escaped unhurt,” said an official. The machine was loaded at a private company in Sector V.
After the truck overturned, local people sought in vain to rescue the labourers who had tried to jump from the vehicle realising it would tip over. Niloy Basu, a resident, said: “We tried to rescue them by using wooden logs and rods. But the machine was too heavy.”
The police first brought a privately owned crane, used in construction work. “We thought it could lift the machine,” said an official. Once that failed, four more had to be brought from places that were far from the spot, losing time.
“When the heavier cranes finally removed the machine, we saw two persons were still alive as their limbs moved. The other three lay still,” said Rajarshi Mondal, an eyewitness.