Probe team visits site of bus fire

Probe team visits site of bus fire

Collects evidence to ascertain whether 'inside' or 'outside' cause led to the inferno

Probe team visits site of bus fire

A team of officers from the Regional Transport Authority and Ashok Leyland company inspected the site on Saturday, where a bus belonging to a private operator had caught fire, killing six people and injuring 20 on the night of April 16, on National Highway-4, near Metikurke village of Hiriyur taluk in Chitradurga district.

The officers collected evidence from the spot, so as to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Earlier, it was suspected that the bus caught fire after petrol leaked from it, on colliding with the road divider. However, the investigating officer has dismissed such assumptions.
Instead, the company officers suspect the possibility of the fire breaking out from inside the bus, as some passengers might have lit a beedi or cigarette and thrown away the butt.

They said that the driver had made all possible efforts to save the passengers after parking the bus on the roadside, as soon as the fire broke out.

“The driver made the passengers alight by breaking the rear windows. He could have saved the others too, by waking them up as soon as he noticed the fire. But, he was in confusion, helpless and fled the spot, fearing public outrage,” they said.

Ashok Leyland workshop manager (of Chitradurga division) M G Neelakanteshwar said they did not come across evidence of any technical failure during investigation. The fuel tank, engine and battery were found to be perfect.

“It was suspected that shortcircuit was the reason for the fire breaking out. However, the batteries inside the bus are perfect,” he said.

It was said that some people were transporting bundles of beedi on the bus. But the bundles were found intact, even after the bus went up in flames, ruling out this possibility. Eyewitnesses and survivors said that smoke was seen from the side of the driver’s seat. However, investigation shows that the bus caught fire due to ‘external’ causes.

Victims’ kin crestfallen

A pall of gloom descended on the small village of Kurki in Davangere taluk as the police suspect that two of the victims of the bus tragedy belonged to this village. The parents of Ravikumar and Nagaraj, the victims, have given DNA samples and are waiting for the results.

The two friends had moved to Bangalore after completing their ITI and were working as electricians at a prestigious hotel. The two were returning to Bangalore, after a visit to their native place, when the accident occurred.

Siddesh, a relative of Ravikumar, told Deccan Herald that the police would hand over the bodies to the families, after analysing the DNA reports.

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