Narrow escape for 36 students as tree falls on bus

The tree that fell on a school bus in Varthur on Monday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Panic gripped eastern Bengaluru when a large, old tree fell on a moving school bus on Varthur-Gunjur Main Road on Monday afternoon. What saved the day was that the tree fall was not intense. All the 36 students escaped unhurt. 

The 70-year-old banyan tree located near Sri Vinayaka Cinemas first fell on a Tempo Traveller that was right in front of the bus belonging to The International School Bangalore, an eyewitness said. 

While both the Tempo Traveller and the school bus were damaged, the low intensity of the tree fall ensured there was no harm to the drivers or the schoolchildren, the eyewitness added. 

The students were quickly evacuated from the bus and ferried on another school
vehicle. 

The tree was among the many that local residents were planning to uproot two months ago, giving its precarious condition. But the plan got delayed for some reason. “The tree was weak and had bent slightly after the recent rains,” said Jagadish Reddy, a resident of Varthur. 

BBMP workers and villagers later cut the fallen tree to pieces and cleared it from the road. This took almost four hours. Traffic was disrupted in the area following the incident. 

Pushpa Manjunath, the BBMP corporator from Varthur, said that the roots of the old tree appeared to have been damaged after the BWSSB dug up the road to lay water pipelines. “The recent rains added to the problem. We frequently check the dry and old trees and get them cut down but this tree looked fine. I wish the poor condition of the tree was brought to our notice earlier,” she added. 

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