Suryakant Jena

Phulbani/Bhubaneswar: A bus ferrying Odia workers from Surat met with an accident near Andharkote in Kalinga Ghat on Kandhamal-Ganjam border of the State today evening. The mishap reportedly killed one person at the site while another person injured during the accident succumbed at a hospital.

G Udaygiri SDPO, Jaykrushna Behera said, "Police, fire services personnel, Phulbani RTO rushed to the spot immediately and carried out rescue operations."

According to sources, the bus carrying Odia passengers from Surat to Odisha amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown suffered the mishap after ramming into a roadside pillar. The vehicle narrowly escaped a major disaster as it stopped short of plunging into a 200 metre-deep valley on the other side.

Speaking exclusively to OTV, State Chief Fire Officer, Sukant Sethi said, three fire fighting teams from Tikabali, Phiringia and G Udaygiri were mobilised with special rescue equipment for rescue operations.

Quoting sources from the accident site, Sethi said that the bus was carrying around 64 people and one person was found dead while one was recovered in critical condition. The injured person later succumbed to injuries during treatment at Bhanjanagar hospital.

Kandhamal SP Prateek Singh informed OTV that the mishap occurred as the driver could not see the road properly.

State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said that probe will be ordered to ascertain the exact reason behind the accident. "It seems that the mishap occurred because of reckless driving and lack of enough knowledge about driving in valley regions. Directives will be issued to drivers not to drive the buses bringing Odisha returnees beyond speed limit of 40 kmph," said Behera.