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Bus crashes into hillock injuring over 70 children

A bus carrying schoolchildren traveling on the Tahalawakelle - Dayagama mountain highway in Nuwara Eliya last morning crashed into a hillock at Agarapathana injuring over 70 children in it, Police said. 

“The bus reportedly went out of control because of suspension component on the bus had broken,” Police said. According to the driver, the bus kept veering to his right toward a precipice at the curve after its front suspension spring components had snapped off.

The bus driver had driven the bus in the direction of the hillock so as to avoid being pulled towards the precipice.

“This is how the bus driver explained the accident to us,” a Police officer said. According to him the bus had come to a complete stop after hitting the hillock along the road. If it did not crash into the mountain, it would have tumbled downhill with the children,” a police officer said. There were about 100 passengers inside the bus. Asked if it was passenger overload that had caused the technical failure, police said Agarapathana police had yet to study the accident in full.

The accident had taken place around 7.20 a.m.

The children got inside the bus from Thalawakelle to go to school in Agarapathana. Most are students of Agarapathana Tamil Maha Vidyalayam and Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya in the vicinity.

Contacted by the Daily News, Agarapathana Divisional Hospital’s District Medical Officer Dr Arumugam Jeyarajan said 73 schoolchildren were brought to the hospital after the accident on the Thalawakelle- Agarapathanana road.

"Most of the children are 11 or 12 years. Most were in shock. They sustained minor injuries such as bruises and concussions. We treated them and sent them home except for 17 patients who were sent to the Nuwara Eliya Hospital for further treatment.

“Their condition is okay. There are no serious injuries-no compound fractures of the sort or other complications,” Dr. Jeyarajan said.