Ocha Thevar (45), a farmer of Cumbum, and 17 of his relatives were on way to Munusamy temple in Karumathur. When the truck, driven by Ocha Thevar’s son Mani, crossed Keelapoolanandhapuram, near Chinnamanur, it rammed into a parapet wall.
In the impact, the occupants, who were all standing, were thrown out of the roofless vehicle while those travelling seated got trapped, suffering grievous injuries. Passersby called for 108 ambulance service. The ambulance team retrieved the bodies of five persons–Ocha Thevar, Praveena (24), Pappaathi (70), Jeyaprakash (10) and Chellathurai (4) - who had been instantly killed after they were flung from the truck.
The remaining 13 persons were rushed to Chinnamanur government hospital where seven-year-old Barath Kumar succumbed, failing to respond to treatment. After first-aid, the injured were taken to the government hospital in Theni where the condition of some is stated to be critical.
The driver probably slept while at the wheel and this led to the mishap, a cop surmised. “The common sight in Theni district is to see farmers from villages risking their lives by travelling in open goods trucks,” a local said.