We were driving underneath Chennai's Gemini Flyover after an interview when Divya, an intern accompanying me, received a call from her sister who happened to be at the Apollo Hospitals. Her message: "a bus fell off the flyover and all ambulances are rushing". I realised I'm right on the spot and noticed there was no traffic on the flyover; scores of people were walking on it instead; we heard ambulances rushing.
My cameraperson and I sensed something seriously wrong and rushed. As we walked the tragedy unfolded; city bus, 17 M heading to Vada Palani lay toppled on the road underneath the flyover. Above, a portion of the side wall of the flyover remained breached; hundreds of people gathered in a jiffy. Ambulances were busy ferrying injured passengers to hospital.
Firemen were rescuing passengers and pumping water to avert any possibility of the fuel tank going up in flames. The police swung into action. They quickly blocked the road and diverted traffic. As I climbed atop a fire engine to record my report, an injured passenger showed me his bleeding elbow and told, "the bus ought to have slowed down on the curve on the flyover, but it was overspeeding and hit the wall".
The Joint Commissioner of Police, Mr Shamnugarajeswaran was among the first to arrive. He told me "the driver seems to have lost control while negotiating the curve, only investigation would reveal the reason".
By the end of the day there's a sense of relief that no life was lost in the accident. One police officer told me; "imagine what would have happened if the bus had fallen over a car or any two wheeler?"
Apollo Hospitals Chairman Dr Pratap Reddy said that "of the 28 passengers admitted, only one is critical with multiple rib injuries, others suffered just mild injuries".
Certainly, one of Chennai's oldest flyovers will now be remembered for a new reason. A miracle flyover it is.