11 Sabarimala pilgrims from Andhra die in accident

via PNS | Kottayam published on January 12, 2010

At least 11 devotees of Lord Ayyappa from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, bound for the Sabarimala hill shrine, were killed and 20 others suffered injuries, ten of them seriously, when the truck they were traveling in plunged into a ravine at Attivalavu, Kanamala on the border of Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts late Tuesday evening. Police officials said the toll could go up as four of the ten seriously injured were in critical condition.

The injured were admitted to the Taluk Hospital in Kanjirappally, and the four critically injured had been shifted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital.

Eight bodies were shifted to the Primary Health Centre, Erumeli, while two were kept at the hospital in Kanjirappally and one at Assissi Hospital, Mukkoottuthara near Erumeli.

The accident occurred when the truck carrying the pilgrims bound for Sabarimala to witness the Makara Vilakku festival on Thursday caught on an embankment on the roadside at high speed causing to overturn and plunge into the ravine. The seriousness of the accident intensified as the passengers were trapped under the sandbags kept in the truck to provide a cushioning effect.

Local people reached the spot in no time, and the police and Fire Force personnel had to fish out the bodies and rescue the injured from under the sand spilled out of the bags. Most of those trapped under the sand were either dead or were unconscious when they were taken out.

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