Hassan: Seven employees of Toyota Kirloskar company employed in their Bidadi facility on the outskirts of Bengaluru died in a tragic mishap at Janivarakere on late Friday night.
Fifteen friends, ten of them in a Scorpio and five in a Swift car, had planned to spend their two-day weekend by visiting tourist spots in Chikkamagaluru district. Having attended the morning shift at Bidadi, they left Bengaluru on Friday evening.
They stopped over at their friend Shivaswami’s house at Mandya and had their dinner there. Around 11 pm they left the place towards Shravanabelagola. They were heading towards NH 75 on further journey towards Hassan and Chikkamagaluru.
Prasanna, a non-Toyota employee, who drove the Scorpio car was unfamiliar with the route. Hence the Swift car was leading the way for them. After Shravanabelaola, however, the Swift car went at high speed and left the second car quite far behind.
Before they could join the highway, fate willed otherwise. Prasanna, not being used to the terrain, lost control over the vehicle and it rolled into a water tank at Janivarakere. The mishap happened around 1 am.
The very first person to rush to the spot was Swamy, a nearby resident who runs a battery servicing outlet in Channarayapatna. After hearing the sound, he called his neighbour Santosh and checked what had happened. When they spotted Santosh standing on the car shouting for help.
Swamy and Santosh took a tractor and a rope and rescued Prasanna. Using the tractor, they pulled all of them out of water. They could save only two others alive, while others had already choked to death because of the central locking system.
Swamy kept awake until early morning and assisted the victims until the police and the fire service arrived around 4 am on Saturday. By them, three had been pulled out alive and seven dead.
Swamy’s selfless efforts won wide appreciation from citizens and the police alike. The five colleagues in the Swift car came to know about it only after covering about 20 kilometres further.
On hearing the news, they turned back to the spot. If they had been in tow with each other, at least some lives could have been saved.
The names of the deceased have been given as N R Raju (23) of Nagaranahalli in Holenarasipur taluk, Kartik (24) of Kappur in Turuvekere taluk, Janardana (23) of Magadi in Bengaluru rural district, Jayant (24) of Harechakanahalli in Maddur taluk,Shivaswami (23) of Halagur of Mandya district, Dilip (23) of Timmegowdanadoddi extension in Bidadi and Satish (24) of Nallur in Chamarajanagar district.
The survivors are Prasanna (30) of Mandya, who was driving the Scorpio car, Prashant (25) of Shivamogga and Raghu (25) of Channapatna. They are being treated in a private hospital in Hassan.