Seven passengers died and 30 others suffered injuries when a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus they were travelling in rolled down a 150-foot deep gorge near Manthada on the Ooty-Coonoor road on Thursday.The bus carrying 38 passengers and two crew was bound to Coimbatore from Ooty when the incident happened around 11.30 am.Driver Raj Kumar, 38 from Maniatty took a sharp right turn while trying to avoid a water ridden pothole on reaching Manthada. Unfortunately, he lost control and the bus rolled down a 150 deep gorge and landed on a farmland, the police said.As the bus rolled down the sloppy hills, few passengers were thrown out of the bus while rest were trapped in it, the police said, adding that a group of youngsters, who noticed the gory incident, informed the police and got down the risky slopes to rescue the injured passengers.Seven persons killed in the accident were Shanthakumari, 55, Dharman, 64, Dinesh, 32, Nandakumar, 36, Prabhakaran, 50, Jaishree, 49 and Almesh, 28, all hailing from different parts of Ooty and Coonoor in the Nilgiri district.Eleven injured persons including the driver were sent to Ooty government hospital in ambulances, while around 19 persons including conductor Prakash, 42 from Karuthukuzhi in Ooty had been taken to Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital(CMCH) for treatment.On receiving information about the mishap, Nilgiris Superintendent of Police Shanmugapriya and District Collector Innocent Divya reached the spot and supervised the rescue operations.The bus was actually plying between Thangadu and Oranalli. As it had a faulty brake system, it was serviced at the Ooty depot only on Wednesday. The bus resumed service on a new route and ended in tragedy as the bus crew was yet to accustom to the faulty bus, police said.They also attributed the slippery and pothole-ridden road to have caused the mishap, while it was raining. Traffic between Coonoor to Udhagamandalam was diverted through Kotagiri to make way for ambulances involved in rescue operations. The Ketti police are investigating.
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