Providential escape for 40 persons as Chennai road caves in

Chennai: Forty-odd persons had a providential escape on Sunday when a bus they were travelling in got stuck in a big crater formed by the caving-in of a portion of the road at Anna Salai in the city.

A car too got stuck in the crater -- several feet deep -- which was formed around 2 p.m. due to ongoing tunnelling work for the metro project. Traffic on the arterial road was affected following the incident. 

Tamil Nadu Finance and Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said: "Fortunately, there are no casualties. All bus passengers and crew have been evacuated." 

He said the cave-in occurred due to boring of a tunnel for the Chennai Metro Rail project. 

During a two-hour operation, involving officials from the transport, metro rail, police and fire service departments, both the vehicles were pulled out with the help of a crane. 

The bus driver told a news channel that the bus had stopped at the stop when it began to sink as if its tyre had deflated. The passengers were then asked to get down immediately, he added.

Metro Rail officials said two tunnel-boring machines had been drilling underground for several months now. 

A few days ago, a foam leak was reported from very close to the spot where the cave-in occurred.

Jayakumar said steps would be taken to prevent repeat of such mishaps, adding that normal traffic will resume at the spot by Monday evening.