At least seven people, including three women, were killed, and 10 others injured, in a road accident on the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar highway in Chakoria upazila of the district yesterday.
The accident occurred when a passenger bus and a three-wheeler, locally known as “leguna”, collided head-on at Baraitoli Natun Rastar Matha area on the highway at around 11:00am.
Police and witnesses said the accident occurred when the leguna bound for Lohagara, carrying passengers, collided head-on with a Cox's Bazar-bound Star Line Paribahan bus from Chittagong at a filling station near Baraitoli Natun Rasta.
One person died on the spot while three succumbed to critical injuries at Chakoria upazila health complex and different private hospitals nearby. Three others died on the way to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH).
The seven dead and 10 injured were all passengers of the two vehicles and included children and women. They were first taken to Chakoria upazila health complex and later shifted to CMCH.
Md Nazrul Islam, superintendent of police (SP) of Highway Police in Comilla, told The Daily Star that police had been trying very hard to stop the plying of legunas on highways, as per the order from the High Court, but one or two escaped the notice of on-duty police officials and get on the highways.
“Some legunas were also given route permit before the High Court passed this order,” said the SP, adding that they have written to the roads and bridges ministry, asking for directives.
“We are investigating how this leguna got on the highway and whether it had a route permit and registration papers,” said the SP.
“We will also investigate whether there was any negligence on the part of the police officials stationed in the area.”
GM Mohiuddin, Chakoria Fire Service and Civil Defence official said passengers were stuck inside the vehicles after the accident. Fire Brigade personnel rescued them and they were taken to hospital where doctors pronounced seven of them dead.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Chakoria Police Station Md Bakhtiar Uddin Chowdhury said the dead were identified as Khair Ahmed, 35; Rokeya Begum, 50, and her daughter Jaitun Akter, 30; Basanti Sikder, 65, from Lohagara upazila; Zahir Ahmed, 35; Shafiqul Kader Tushar, 18, from Chakoria upazila; and Abul Kashem, 27, from Harbang union.
Police said they seized the two vehicles involved in the accident and legal action was being taken in this regard.