Hyderabad, June 13 : Twenty-two pilgrims, all relatives, were killed on Saturday when the van they were travelling in fell into the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh, police said. The accident took place near Rajahmundry town in East Godavari district when the vehicle veered off the road and fell off Dowleswaram barrage in the early hours of the day. The dead include nine women and six children. The rescue workers saved a 13-year-old child. The victims from Achutapuram village of Visakhapatm district were returning home after a pilgrimage to Tirupati.
“The driver appeared to have lost control. The Toofan type van fell into the river after hitting the pavement and the wall,” Rajahmundry urban Superintendent of Police S. Hari Krish told reporters at the accident scene.
The overcrowded vehicle fell at a depth of 25 to 30 feet. As there was no water, almost all people died on the spot due to the impact of the crash.
While 21 people, including driver died on the spot, one person succumbed at the hospital in Rajahmundry. Police said negligence led to the accident. The vehicle was carrying 23 people as against its capacity of 12. The accident is believed to have occurred after midnight but the police officer said they received the information around 5 a.m. Senior police and civil officials rushed to the scene and launched the rescue operation. District collector H. Arun Kumar was supervising the rescue work. Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinrajappa visited the accident scene. (IANS)