Five youngsters were killed and two suffered serious injuries when a car they were travelling collided head on with a tourist bus near Perumbavoor at 2 a.m. on Thursday.

The accident occurred when the five-seater car, on its way to the Cochin international airport from Elappara in Idukki, hit the bus near Kareekode on MC Road at a sharp accident-prone curve. The youths were proceeding to see off Jerin, employed in West Asia.

The deceased were identified as Jerin, 22; Unni, 20; Vijayan, 28; Kiran, 21, and Jineesh, 21, all natives of Elappara. The condition of Sujith, and Jibin, brother of Jerin, who have been admitted to a private hospital in Perumbavoor town, remains critical.

A few passengers in the bus suffered minor injuries in the impact of the collision. CCTV footage obtained from the area showed the car veering off its lane and ramming the bus.

Local people and the police pulled out the youths from the car by cutting open its mangled remains. Preliminary investigations attributed the collision to the sharp curve, low visibility due to heavy rain and the possibility of speeding by both the vehicles. The Andhra Pradesh-registered bus was carrying pilgrims and was proceeding behind a lorry.

The Perumbavoor police have registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC (causing death by a negligent act) against the bus driver. But a preliminary probe had suggested that the accident happened because the car was on the wrong lane, the police said.

The discovery of a liquor bottle from the car being probed into.

Pall of gloom

A Correspondent writes from Idukki:

A pall of gloom descended on the plantation town of Elappara on Thursday when the bodies of those killed in the accident at Perumbavoor were brought home. The victims were friends and relatives residing in and around Elappara. Shops and business establishments downed the shutters by afternoon.

Ambulances carrying the bodies reached the local bus stand by 4.30 p.m. Despite heavy rain, large crowds thronged the bus stand. Many broke into tears on seeing the bodies. After keeping the bodies there for public view, the bodies were taken to their respective houses. The body of Vijay was buried at the cemetery of the Infant Jesus church at Elappara. The body of Jineesh was buried at the cemetery of the CSI church at Bonami. Relatives of the others said the bodies would be buried later.

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