It was the kind of rescue that you would expect in a Bollywood or Sandalwood action film. But if not for the courageous and imaginative efforts of locals in Gadag in Karnataka, five persons might have lost their lives when their bus toppled off a bridge into flooding water.
On Monday morning, a KSRTC bus travelling from Laksmeshwara to Yellapura in Gadag, came upon the Dodduru bridge. The bridge was almost entirely covered by a flood of flowing water, following torrential rainfall.
Although the bus passengers pleaded with him not to, the driver ignored their pleas and drove onto the bridge, locals alleged. But faced with heavy winds and torrential waters, the bus missed the edge off the road and toppled off the side of the bridge.
As the scared passengers began shouting for help, locals quickly gathered and began an incredible rescue operations. They had to work quickly as the front of the bus, submerged in water, was quickly filling up with water.
The local residents tied a rope to the emergency exit of the bus, and heled the passengers cross hand over hand across the rapidly flowing water.
While the driver helped the passengers reach the emergency exit, the conductor and a few locals helped them cross over to the other side of the road, with the help of the rope.
Luckily with only five people on the bus, including the driver and the conductor, the rescuers could quickly complete their operation before any casualties resulted. By the time the police and fire officials arrived on the spot, all the passengers had been safely rescued.
The locals managed to rescue all the passengers by the time the police and the fire department officials arrived on the spot.
“The bridge is very close to the road. The road had a huge pit and water was overflowing from it due to the rain. The road below the bridge could barely be seen. The bridge is also not very sturdy and because of the force of the water, the path was not clear. Hence the bus toppled into the pit,” Fakirappa, an eyewitness told TV9.
According to the bus driver Mallappa, this road was not the usual route for the bus, and they had been forced to use it due to the rains.
“This is not the usual route that we take but due to the rain, the other road was also blocked and the three passengers said that this was the only alternative route. When we were on the bridge, the bus began leaning towards one side due to the water and I lost control of the wheel due to the pressure of the water. That’s when the bus toppled and fell into the pit. We were in the bus for around 15 minutes by which time we were rescued with the help of locals,” Mallappa said.