The educational tour of government high school students from Genikehal in Ballari district turned into a tragedy after the bus in which they were travelling in fell into a drain killing one student and injuring six, at Shanthigeri near Suntikoppa in Kodagu district, in the wee hours of Saturday.
According to the police, the deceased is N U Basavaraj (16), a tenth standard student. The injured are assistant cook Siddhu, driver Johnson, students K Raja, H Veeresh, M Manjunath and Mohammed Fayaz. The condition of Siddhu and Johnson is said to be critical and they have been shifted to a hospital in Mangaluru for further treatment.
Seven-month-old baby Dhanushree accompanying her teacher parents Umesh-Sumalatha has miraculously escaped unhurt. There were 48 persons including teachers and students on board the ill-fated bus.
The tragedy occurred when they were travelling to Madikeri after visiting the KRS dam. It is said that the driver was drowsy and lost control of the vehicle before hitting a drain.
The students had left for their educational tour on December 25 and had visited Hassan, Mandya and Mysuru before heading to Madikeri.
The students alleged that the driver had consumed alcohol while driving.
SP Suman D Pennekar, Suntikoppa PSI Jayaram and DySP Muralidhar visited the spot. A case has been registered at Suntikoppa police station.
After the accident, all the students were provided shelter at Manjunathaiah Meenakshamma Kalyana Mantapa at Suntikoppa. The students were inconsolable after having learnt their friend is no more.
Deputy Commissioner P I Sreevidya, MLC Sunil Subramani and others visited Madikeri district hospital.
Later, the students and teachers were sent back to Ballari in a KSRTC bus. The district administration made arrangements to send the body of Basavaraj to his native after the post-mortem.