At least 13 persons were killed and 18 others, including some police officers, were injured as a truck driver lost control over the vehicle outside a police station in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh this afternoon. While six persons were crushed to death under the truck’s wheels, others died of electrocution and the resultant fire, triggered by the mishap. Some police officers also sustained injuries, said Superintendent of Police (Tirupati Urban) Jayalakshmi.
A local reporter of a regional newspaper who was at the police station lost his legs in the accident. The injured persons were taken to Ruia Hospital in Tirupati. A group of about 50 people had come to the police station to submit a petition against the illegal sand mining in the Swarnamukhi river and the police officers were talking to them when the driver of a truck passing by the police station lost control over the vehicle, which hit an electrical pole on the Putalapattu-Nayudupeta state road.
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The truck then ran into shops on the roadside, trampling at least six persons to death. As the electrical wires got snapped, some people in the vicinity got electrocuted. It also caused a minor fire which was doused immediately.
The truck driver and his assistant, who were suspected to be drunk, fled from the spot, the police said. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed grief over the incident.
The state cabinet, which met here this afternoon, announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. The chief minister directed Industries Minister N Amarnath Reddy to rush to the spot and supervise the relief operations. State Transport Minister K Atchannaidu has ordered an inquiry into the mishap. Leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy too expressed grief over the loss of life.