At least 13 people, including two children and six women, were killed and over 20 others were injured in a head on collision between a bus and a laguna both speeding from opposite directions at Kadam Filler on the Rajshahi-Pabna Highway near Sadia Filling Station under Lalpur upazila in Natore Saturday afternoon.
The accident took place when the laguna was trying to overtake another vehicle amid drizzles said locals as well as the police and fire service officials and a former local union parishad chairman told New Age.
Six of the casualties were laguna driver Rahim Ali, 28, of Thakurgaon, and passengers of the laguna Rajufa Begum, 35, and Shefali Begum, 40, both of Narayanpur, Baraigram, Natore, Lagena Begum,65, of Jamaidia, Baraigram, Natore, Shapla Aklhter,20, of Mirkamari, Pabna, Rokan Sheikh, 22, Gopalpur, Tangail, according to hospital, police and fire service sources.
Seven other casualties, whose identities could not be ascertained until 10 PM on Saturday were also passengers of the laguna.
Out of 20 injured, eight were immediately taken to the nearby Patwari Clinic.
Four of them could not be identified as they were unconscious and fire service rescuers identified four seriously injured persons as Nurfel Sardar, 35, Shahinur, 28, Azhar Mandal, 30 and Habibur Rahman, 24.
Fire service men immediately shifted the four injured persons in unconscious condition to the Natore Sadar Hospital and among them a minor boy was referred to Rajshshi Medical College Hospital in a critical condition.
Three hours later, the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry announced the formation of a 10-member committee headed by Roads Division additional secretary Shafiqul Islam to hold a probe into the accidents that occurred at different places before and after Eid-ul-Azha.
The road transport and bridges minister asked the committee to submit its report within 10 days.
Natore fire service station officer Muhiuddin told New Age that the fatal accident occurred when a Bogra-bound bus of Challenger Paribahan from Pabna collided head on with the Pabna-bound laguna coming from Banpara when the laguna was trying to overtake another vehicle at about 4 PM.
The bus skidded into the roadside ditch with a big bang after hitting the laguna which was completely damaged leaving its 10 passengers dead on the spot and several others of both the vehicles injured, he said.
Quoting witnesses, he said that the bus driver tried his best to save the laguna.
He said that the locals, on hearing the big bang and victims’ cries for help rushed the spot and began to rescue.
He said, the fire service rescuers and the police rushed the spot speedily recovered the bodies, rescued the injured ones and sent them to different nearby hospitals including Banpara Health Complex, Patwari Clinic and the Amena Clinic.
He said that three more people were declared dead after they were taken to hospitals.
Muhiuddin said that the vehicle that was ahead of the overtaking laguna sped away.
Fire service and police officials and locals said at least 20 injured people took treatment at different hospitals.
Kadimchilan union parishad’s former chairman Md Abul Kashem Sarkar told New Age in the evening that the fatal accident took place when the laguna, trying to overtake another speeding vehicle, collided head-on with the bus.
Banpara highway police station officer-in-charge GM Shamshun Nur told New Age that the bus driver and helper fled after the accident.
The fatal accident occurred 19 days after schoolchildren took to the streets in the capital demanding road safety after two students were killed and 12 others injured by a speeding bus at Kurmitola in the capital.
The student demonstrations spread across the country and continued for nine days with children chanting the slogan, ‘We want justice.’
From August 21 to 24, at least 32 people were killed and 101 others injured in 17 road accidents in 13 districts of the country.