Kochi: Three people, including two children, died after a mini van fell into a pond at Maradu here on Monday.
The bus, carrying students of Kids' World daycare centre, fell into the pond on the premises of a shrine along Kattithara road around 4 pm Monday.
There were eight children in the vehicle, and six of them were rescued by the driver, and the local people who rushed to the spot. Though the injured were rushed to the hospital, two children and a woman, a staffer of the daycare centre, succumbed to the injuries.
The deceased children were identified as Vidyalakshmi and Adithyan S Nair, both four years old, and the woman attendant as Latha Unni (38). Vidyalakshmi is the daughter of Kakkanad native Sanalkumar and Smija. Adityan is the son of Maradu natives Sreejith Nair and Priya. One of the injured kids, Theresa, and the driver Anil Kumar (Babu), who collapsed after taking part in the rescue operation, have been admitted to the Medical Trust Hospital. The condition of Theresa is said to be serious.
Case against driver
According to eyewitnesses, the accident happened when the vehicle negotiated a left curve after dropping three kids at a stop. The vehicle, as it swerved to the left, was thrown to the right. It then slipped on the wet grass on the shoulder of the road, skidded till it reached the edge and slowly tipped over the temple pond. By the time the locals rushed to the spot, the vehicle submerged fully. They, along with the driver, managed to rescue six of the children. The bodies of the two children and Latha Unni could be recovered only after the vehicle was pulled out of the pond using ropes. By then, precious thirty minutes had passed.
RTO Reji P Varghese said that the accident could have been caused either because the vehicle had speeded while taking the narrow curve or because of carelessness. Though the vehicle has a fitness certificate, the special inspection of the the motor vehicles department for school vehicles had not been conducted. CCTV footage also hints at the driver's carelessness. A case has been registered against the driver, Anil Kumar.
Local authorities decided to hand over the two bodies of the children without any autopsy, while the woman's body will be handed over to her relatives on Tuesday after the post-mortem examination.
Local residents alleged that lack of railings along the pond caused the accident. The pond is filled with aquatic weeds.
Two years ago, a tipper lorry had fallen into the pond and ever since the local people have been asking the Cochin Corporation authorities to barricade the pond but to no avail.