The truck, laden with 300 salt bags, was illegally ferrying 42 people from Bhachau to Jhabua
Twenty-four people, including 12 children were crushed to death when a truck carrying them overturned near Chharodi village on Sanand-Viramgam highway, in the wee hours of Thursday.
Seventeen injured persons were rushed to VS hospital in Ahmedabad for treatment and are said to be out of danger.
The truck was illegally transporting 42 people on paid lift of Rs300 per person.
The truck, laden with 300 salt bags and carrying 42 people in it, was on its way to Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh (MP) from Bhachau. The victims were crushed under the weight of 300 bags of salt. The ill-fated truck is owned by Chavla Transport that has its offices in Indore and Bhavnagar.
The deceased include 10 boys, two girls, six men and an equal number of women, informed RK Patel, deputy superintendent of police (DySP) – Ahmedabad rural.
“They (the deceased) were waiting at the Bhachau bus-stand when the truck-driver approached them with a paid lift,” said Patel.
The driver, identified as Kirtan, lost balance of the truck when its front wheel rolled over the edge of the road and eventually overturned. The bags toppled over the sleeping people, killing 24 of them on the spot. Kirtan and his cleaner have been declared absconding.
“As soon as the truck tipped over, people sleeping on the bags fell down and the bags tumbled on top of them resulting into gruesome deaths,” said Patel.
About 30 people were trapped under the salt bags, and 24 of them were flattened to death. “Few of them were thrown some distance away from the accident site and thus survived the mishap,” said Rahim Vaghela, an eyewitness in the accident.
The Gujarat government declared ex-gratia compensation of Rs1 lakh for the kin of those killed adults and Rs50,000 to the families of kids killed in the accident.
“We have started checking details of family members of the deceased so that we can speed up release of grants to them,” said Chamanbhai Patel, talati cum mantri of Sanand Taluka. MP government has also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs2 lakh to the kin of the deceased.