Chennai/Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 20 (IANS) Two Kerala cabinet ministers on Thursday rushed to Tamil Nadu''s Tiruppur district where 20 people were killed in a road accident earlier in the day after a container lorry collided with a KRSTC bus travelling from Bengaluru to Ernakulam.
Eighteen of 20 passengers killed in the accident were from Kerala, officials said.
Police said the accident took place near Avinashi in Tiruppur district in Tamil Nadu. The driver of the lorry carrying tiles lost control of the vehicle after its front tyre burst and hit the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus coming from the other side.
Hemaraj, the driver of the lorry who ran away from the accident site, later surrendered before the local police and his arrest has been recorded.
A total of 48 persons were travelling in the bus and the deceased include both driver and conductor of the KSRTC bus.
The right side of the bus was badly damaged. Police and fire tenders rushed to the spot for rescue operations.
Condoling the death of the people, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said he had ordered the district officials to provide necessary medical assistance to the 23 injured passengers.
Besides, five passengers suffered minor injuries.
Palaniswami said a help centre was also set up to render assistance to move the bodies to Kerala.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan termed the accident as shocking and said two of his ministers have reached the accident site.
Two Kerala Ministers -- Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran and Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar -- besides legislators from Palakkad are also camping at Tirippur and coordinating the autopsy and extending all directions for the treatment of the injured.
Saseendran told the media that the KSRTC will provide a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the deceased, of which Rs 2 lakh will be released immediately.
Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said 20 ambulances have been despatched to the accident site.
Karishma, a passenger who was fortunate enough to escape unhurt, said she is yet to recover from the shock.
"The entire right side of the bus has been completely damaged and the maximum casualties are from the right side. I was seated on the left side of the bus," she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said: "Extremely anguished by the bus accident in Tamil Nadu''s Tiruppur district. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. I hope those who are injured recover at the earliest."