Cottage sealed; owner, aide held as woman dies in van mishap

There is a ban on vehicles from other districts and states to use the steep ghat road, after five tourists from Chennai died when their vehicle plunged into a deep gorge in 2018.
Officials sealing the illegally functioning cottage in The Nilgiris on Sunday
Officials sealing the illegally functioning cottage in The Nilgiris on Sunday

COIMBATORE: After a 45-year-old woman died and several others were injured as a tourist van fell into a gorge on the Kalhatty Road in The Nilgiris on Saturday night, the police arrested two persons, including a cottage owner on Sunday for taking them through the restricted ghat stretch.

There is a ban on vehicles from other districts and states to use the steep ghat road, after five tourists from Chennai died when their vehicle plunged into a deep gorge in 2018.

Meanwhile, a group of around 20 tourists from Chennai came to Ooty. They were bound to Masinagudi through the Kalhatty Road on Saturday night.

While driving down the 13th hairpin bend, the van driver lost control and fell down the gorge. On receiving information, Pudumund police and fire service personnel rushed to the spot and rescued the 19 injured tourists. They were sent to Ooty Government Hospital, where Muthumari (45), a native of Tirunelveli and residing in Chennai succumbed to injuries.

Eighteen others are under treatment. Following inquiries, the police arrested cottage owner Vinod Kumar (24), from Chennai and his assistant Joseph (24) from Coimbatore for encouraging the tourists to come by the restricted way. Also, the officials of the revenue department sealed their cottage located near a check post in Kalhatty area as it was functioning illegally without a valid license.

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