Tamil Nadu bus
Representative Image/Ranjithsiji, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

In a shocking incident reported from India, a 35-year-old woman narrowly escaped death after falling through a hole in the floor of a bus in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday.

The bus was travelling from Vallalar Nagar to Thiruverkadu when the mishap occurred. According to local media reports, as the woman got up from her seat, a portion of the bus floor beneath her feet broke open, and she slipped through it.

The fellow passengers immediately began to scream and asked the driver to stop. Meanwhile, they continued to hold her so she did not get crushed by the moving vehicle. The bus came to a sudden stop, and the woman was rescued eventually. She sustained minor injuries and was given first aid at Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital.

An investigation has been launched into the incident, and the technical assistant responsible for the bus' maintenance has been suspended.

It is also being reported that the bus involved in the accident was declared fit by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) just last month. The manager of the Basin Bridge depot has also been suspended by Alby John Varghese, managing director of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC).

"We have formed special teams to inspect the buses and their maintenance at the depot. We have assigned officers to inspect depots at night when the buses undergo maintenance. Directions have also been issued to ensure the strength of all MTC buses' floors," Varghese told The New Indian Express.

The incident has caused social media outrage in the state, with opposition leaders slamming the state government for misusing taxpayers' money.

"Due to poorly maintained buses, water seeping inside the bus during rainy season, broken seats, even the lives of public travelling in government buses are not safe, the transport department is completely paralysed today. Not only the transport department, every Tamil Nadu government department is in a similar state of disrepair," said K Annamalai, the state chief of the opposition party BJP.

"The question arises as to where all the tax money of the people is going. The minister who thinks about the ways in which corruption can be done in the transport sector should also focus on the maintenance of government buses," he added.

This is not the first time that such an incident has been reported in India. Last year, a 44-year-old man died after falling from a moving bus near Alangayam town in Tirupattur.

The incident took place when the victim, identified as N. Ramesh, tried to get down from the moving bus through the rear door when the driver of the bus applied the brake. Ramesh slipped and fell on the road during the impact.

In a similar incident, a 63-year-old man died of head injuries after falling out of a moving bus in Karnataka's Kadaba last year in September.

The incident took place after the driver moved the bus, even though the conductor was still trying to close the rear door. The people who were on the footboard fell off the bus. The elderly man was the only one who suffered head injuries and succumbed to it.

In 2015, a 45-year-old man died after being buried alive when he reportedly fell into a pothole in the road, which was then filled in by workmen.

The incident occurred in the Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The man was walking along a dark road with no street lighting when he fell down the large crater, which was filled in later that night.

Locals only realised something was amiss when they saw an arm sticking out from the tarmac. Graphic video footage online showed a crowd of people frantically digging down to retrieve Barman's body.

Potholes are a major problem in India, causing many accidents and fatalities. Road accidents caused by potholes led to the deaths of 5,626 people between 2018 and 2020.