Pudukottai: Nine pilgrims and the driver of the van in which they were travelling, hailing from Telangana, were killed when a lorry rammed the vehicle, near Thirumayam in Pudukkottai on Sunday afternoon. Five others, who were in the van, were injured and are being treated at the Pudukkottai Government College and Hospital.
The pilgrims had visited Sabarimala and had gone to Rameshwaram to take a holy dip before heading back to Telangana. On Sunday afternoon, at around 2pm, their van was passing Thirumayam in Pudukkottai when a lorry from the opposite direction reportedly crossed into their lane and collided with the van. The driver of the lorry reportedly fled the spot.
Seven people in the van, including the driver, were killed on the spot. A person working at a shop on the highway learnt of the accident and called and ambulance before informing the police. The surviving pilgrims were taken to the Thirumayam government hospital, where three of them were pronounced brought dead by the doctors. The deceased were R Nagaraj (35), A Mahesh (28), M Kumar (22), Sham (22), S Pravin (24), Krishna (35), M Saai (22), Aanjaneyalu, Suresh (25) and the driver who has yet to be identified.
Naresh, K Poomakavud (28), D Raju (28), S Venkatesh (35), N Sailmal survived the accident. Police said the five men had been seated at the back of the van and hence survived the accident.
The survivors were shifted to Pudukkottai Government Hospital in the evening. Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, Pudukkottai District Collector S Ganesh, SP of Pudukkottai S Selvaraj arrived at the spot. Speaking to the reporters, Vijayabaskar said that the Tamil Nadu government would ensure that the mortal remains of the deceased would reach their homes and the survivors would be given necessary treatment and care.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock and conveyed condolences to the bereaved families.