The bus accident in which four persons died and 23 were injured, including two critically, at Damuku in Ananthagiri mandal, on the ghat road from Araku to Visakhapatnam on Friday night, might be due to a number of reasons including brake failure.
According to the primary investigation done by the district police, the bus was heading from Araku valley to Visakhapatnam, carrying 27 passengers, including the driver.
The driver Srisailam had reportedly stated he was experiencing some issue with the brakes and their were indications of failure.
The ghat road from Araku to Visakhapatnam is down gradient and the bus would have been gathering speed, due to issues with the brakes, said Araku Circle Inspector Pydaiah.
The incident happened at hairpin bend number 5, which is located between Damuku and Tyda.
On the 50-km ghat road stretch between Araku and Visakhapatnam there are eight hairpin bends and negotiating them needs experience. The accident reportedly happened at around 7.30 p.m. and due to lack of lights and being thickly forested, the area is pitch-dark, after sunset.
The driver reportedly lost control at the hairpin bend, due to brake failure, and he made the decision to stop the bus by ramming it into retaining wall on the right side.
The bus crashed through the wall and plunged about 200 feet deep into the valley. Luckily there were huge trees, which arrested the fall further, said police officials.
According to a senior police officer, who rushed to the site, had the bus swerved to the left and hit the rocks on the mountain side, the accident would not have been such a serious one. It would have hit rocks and overturned on the road, but would not have fallen into the valley, he said.
Only one driver
The initial investigation also reveals that the driver might have been fatigued. The bus belonging to one Dinesh Travels and started from Hyderabad on February 10. There was only one driver and it appears that he was fatigued, due to long hours of driving. He also apparently did not have any experience in driving on steep ghat roads, said Mr. Pydaiah.
“Experts will examine the condition of the bus and only then we will have a confirmed report, if there was any mechanical failure,” said a senior officer from the Road Transport Department.