Five tourists killed in Ooty as car falls into gorge
The Nilgiris district police on Wednesday evening found the bodies of five tourists from Chennai, more than two days after the car in which they were travelling plunged off the Kalhatti Ghat Road.
The deceased were part of a seven-member group of friends that had gone on a tour to the hill station. The other two from the group have been rescued and are receiving treatment at different hospitals.
The police identified the deceased as Ravi Verma, Jeyakumar, Ibrahim, Amarnath and Jude Anto Kevin.
The two men rescued by the police and the Forest Department were identified as Ram Rajesh and Arun, also from Chennai. Though they were badly injured, the two managed to pull on without food for over 48 hours. They were initially taken to the Government Hospital in Udhagamandalam and later shifted to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital.
The seven tourists had come to the Nilgiris on September 30 and were staying in a hotel at Fern Hill. They reportedly left for the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) the next day at around 8 a.m. and were not heard from since.
Acting on an alert from the hotel staff, the police launched a manhunt for them on Wednesday. With the help of the forest department, the police found the wreckage of the sports utility vehicle the men were driving below the 35 hairpin bend of the Kalhatti Ghat Road.
Since the vehicle had fallen into a gorge surrounded by bushes, nobody seems to have noticed it over two days.
With help from forest department staff, the police moved in quickly and managed to find Mr. Rajesh and Mr. Arun alive, but trapped inside the vehicle.
The two had spent more than 48 hours with the bodies of their friends, who are believed to have died soon after the accident on Monday morning. Their condition is said to be serious but stable.
Nilgiris District Superintendent of Police, D. Shanmuga Priya, said that the Kalhatti Ghat Road was closed to outstation vehicles because of the steep road gradient, which, if not navigated correctly, could lead to brake failure in vehicles descending the almost 15 kilometer stretch.
“I have ordered a thorough investigation as to who were the police personnel stationed at the check-post who allowed the vehicle through,” she said.