Infosys Employee Dies in Bengaluru After Car Drowns in Underpass

Bhanurekha, 22, an engineer working at Infosys died on Sunday 21 May 2023 in Bengaluru. Her death was very shocking. She died after the car she was travelling in entered a flooded underpass at K R Circle in the heart of Bengaluru city. On Sunday it was raining very heavily. Hail and heavy wind lashed the city in the afternoon. Several trees were uprooted and areas were waterlogged. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah spoke to the reporters and said, ‘A family of 6 from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh had rented a car to tour Bengaluru city. Bhanurekha was one of them. Including the driver, there were seven people.  

They had their last stop at Cubbon Park. Since it was raining very heavily that day, the park was closed and they decided to go home. The driver then came to the KR Circle’s underpass. There was a barricade to prevent people from entering the underpass. But the barricade had fallen over due to rain. The driver could have avoided the underpass. Yet, he entered it.” The driver said that “Two vehicles – a car and an auto – had passed through just before we entered the underpass. Another auto driver, who was in front of the car, stopped. If he had gone right behind the two vehicles, then I could have passed too. He waited for a bit and then asked me to go ahead of him.” The underpass declines to a depth of around seven to eight metres at its lowest point. 

The driver underestimated the depth of the water and drove inside. However, since it was raining the water levels rose quickly. The car started to float and the engine shut down. 

Locals, the police, and fire personnel quickly reached the spot but those inside the vehicle screamed in panic. 

They threw sarees and ropes to help them keep afloat. Those entrapped tried to climb up but failed.  Ladders were lowered to help those rescued climb out of the underpass. While two of them were dragged out by swimmers of the emergency services personnel, others were brought out using a ladder. Bhanurekha was also rescued. Everyone was rushed to the nearby St Martha’s Hospital. However, doctors declared her dead on arrival. Officials say that since she was sitting in the back seat she took in too much water. Meanwhile, there were complaints that the staff at the hospital did not respond on time causing Bhanurekha’s death. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visited the hospital and declared ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the victim and free treatment for those admitted in the hospital. Siddaramaiah said hospital authorities denied the charge of delaying treatment but action would be taken if they were found to have violated norms. Even after the accident, eyewitnesses said that vehicles continued to enter the flooded underpass as barricades were not put up. An autorickshaw driver and a passenger had to be rescued by fire and emergency service personnel shortly after the accident. Two bikes and another auto had also entered the underpass, but stopped and turned back.

People are furious and blame the authorities for this accident. People said how could such an accident happen at the KR Circle underpass which is just a stone's throw from Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power in Karnataka. Mumbai, known for heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, is also notorious for water-logging issues. The city has several vehicular underpasses constructed over the past 20-30 years for east-west connectivity. The BMC has said to prevent such accidents, they will install dewatering pumps inside subways and other technology to avoid flooding underpasses. Eknath Shinde had gone to Thane to check the status of all ongoing road repair work and nullah cleaning. He went to Thane after checking the Mumbai road repairs. At a press conference, Shinde said, ‘The Thane Corporation will slap a penalty of Rs one lakh per pothole on contractors entrusted with constructing new roads in Thane.’