Kottayam: Quick thinking by a truck driver averted big tragedy when a load of hay he was carrying caught fire after it brushed against an overhead electric line. Abhilash Lal (34) from Ponkunnam steered the truck into a canal nearby, preventing a big blaze.
The truck was carrying hay from South Maniyanparambu paddy fields to Kanjirappally when the load caught fire near Naluthodu on Manappalli-Kattadi road around 9pm yesterday.
Three friends of Abhilash were in the truck. Locals say the load brushed against an electric line causing the fire, which was first spotted by two other friends who were following the truck in a van. By the time Abhilash was told of the fire, it had enveloped the whole load. He quickly drove the vehicle into the canal, a tributary of Meenachil River running parallel to the road.
Abhilash and friends leapt out of the truck as it hit the water. Locals and firefighters rescued them. An exhausted Abhilash was treated at general hospital nearby.