Three pilgrims dead, 27 injured in Norton Bridge bus accident

Three pilgrims were reported dead and 27 others were hospitalized when a private bus returning from Sripada went down a 150-metre precipice at the Taplo Estate area in Norton Bridge on Sunday night, Police said.

The deceased include two women and a male. The body of the 33-year-old male was found underneath the toppled bus on Monday morning, Police said. He is Dilan Kaushal Nanayakkara of Hikkaduwa. The other two, Kasuni Imanthika Jayalath (33) and Nayanarathna Kumari Rathnayake (35) are residents of Akuregoda, Matara and Udukumbura, Matara respectively.

There had been 28 pilgrims in the bus when the incident happened. Of them three have been admitted to the Kandy National Hospital and Peradeniya Teaching Hospital in critical conditions while the others have been admitted to the Watawala and Nawalapitiya hospitals. The driver and the conductor of the bus are also among the casualties.

Those who had participated in the pilgrimage are friends from different areas of the country who work in a biscuit manufacturing company and a garment factory in Ratmalana.

They had left for Sripada from Maharagama on Friday (17). The Sripada was overcrowded during the weekend and therefore they had returned to the bus in groups from time to time after worshiping the sacred site.

They had started the return trip for Maharagama on Sunday night (19). The bus had toppled down around 9.00 p.m. on Sunday when it attempted to give way to an oncoming vehicle along the Norton Bridge – Diyagala road, police said.

It is said that the passengers were asleep when the accident took place.

“The Norton Bridge – Diyagala road is dilapidated and narrow with a slope on one side. Therefore, the drivers should be very careful when using this road, especially at night,” the authorities pointed out.

“The Sri Lanka Army with the support of the Police and STF personnel conducted an operation to rescue the passengers amidst the cold weather,” Police said. Norton Bridge Police are investigating.

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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