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'Berserk' bus driver kills 9

2012-01-26 09:36

TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION: People gather on the site of an accident after nine people were killed and dozens hurt when a bus went on the rampage, leaving a trail of smashed cars and crushed pedestrians. Images: AFP

MUMBAI, India - At least nine people were killed and dozens hurt Wednesday when a bus driver in a western Indian city went on the rampage, leaving a trail of smashed cars and crushed pedestrians, police said.

The rogue driver hijacked the bus in a depot and then sped down the crowded streets of the city of Pune during morning rush-hour as children headed to school and office employees were on the way to work.

Pune's commissioner of police, Meeran Borwankar, told local television: "He just went berserk. He went on ramming whatever vehicles were plying the road.


"Citizens came forward and literally threw children away from the road. He was in such a dangerous mood. Ultimately he was held (by police) but the damage has been tremendous," she said.

An officer in the local police control room told AFP that nine people had been killed and 27 injured. Some 40 vehicles were left mangled in the destruction, which left autorickshaws overturned and damaged cars.

"He was a nut-case, had completely lost his head. He caused a lot of damage," said the officer, who asked not to be named.

"Most of the damage was to parked taxis, private vehicles, cycles and stalls," he said.


Identified by police as Santosh Mane, the driver was said to be an employee of a local bus operator.

The rampage began as he left the depot, where he reportedly crushed two pedestrians, and came to halt only when members of the public wrestled him from the controls half an hour later when he had rammed into another bus, the officer and reports said.

"Whoever came in his way, he just rammed into them," one witness told NDTV television.

Another said: "I was out jogging, there was a noise, I jumped immediately that is why I was saved. This is my second life, I would have been dead."

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