Patna, Feb. 8: Thirty-two students and 10 teachers of a city school had a providential escape today when the bus in which they were travelling skidded off the road, fell into a ditch and overturned.
The accident occurred around 3.30pm, when the driver, who was allegedly speeding, swerved the bus to avoid a head-on collision with another vehicle near Choti Pahari under the jurisdiction of Agamkuan police station. The occupants belonged to the St Joseph’s Convent High School branch located in Jethuli, Fatuha, on the city’s outskirts.
The timely intervention of passers-by saved the students and teachers. At least 20 of them suffered injuries, sources said.
“Around 3.30pm, the bus, which runs as a contract carriage for the Fatuha branch of St Joseph’s Convent High School, Ashok Rajpath, was returning to Patna. Near Choti Pahari, the driver swerved the bus to avoid a collision with an approaching vehicle. It fell into a roadside ditch filled with water and half of it sank. A group of passers-by smashed the windscreen and the glass windows to slowly take out all the shrieking passengers. Police reached the spot on getting the information,” said an officer at Agamkuan police station.
Ram Vilas (55), a passer-by, who joined in the rescue operations, said the bus was speeding. “The students started screaming for help. We smashed some windowpanes to take them out. The teachers called up the school. Another bus was sent by which the children were sent to Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH),” he said.
Patna City sub-divisional officer Tyaag Rajan S.M. said: “The students of classes IX and X were returning from a farewell programme for Class X students. Around 20 students suffered minor injuries and are being treated in hospital. The teachers are safe.”
The students said the bus was speeding. “The driver was driving at high speed. The teachers and we asked him to slow down but he did not,” said Kriti, a Class IX student.
A shaken Akshara Verma, another student, said: “We would have drowned had the passers-by not helped promptly.”
Police said the driver, identified as Ram Pravesh, in his fifties, was being treated at NMCH.
When contacted, Sister Lucina, the principal of the school’s Ashok Rajpath branch, said: “The media is making up stories that students were injured. The accident took place but no student was injured.”