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Old 31st October 2013, 13:43   #14326
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It has to be driver's fault. I have seen how they drive. Always honking profusely and breathing down the necks of smaller vehicles. They are always in a great hurry and very impatient to overtake. Volvo is one the best buses in the world. This incident proves that even world's best technology is useless in the hands of a monkey. And monkeys and fools abound on our roads.

As can be made out from the reports, the bus was overtaking a car and in the process hit the culvert/railing. We can safely surmise here that there was probably not enough room for bus to overtake and yet he tried to squeeze through that gap; I have seen this umpteen times. Volvo bus may be capable of going up to 140 or whatever. But our traffic conditions do not permit that even on highways. Possibilities of things going wrong are endless. I feel unsafe above 100 even in an SUV which swings and sways. And Volvo bus? It rocks from side to side under sudden steering inputs like a house during a quake.
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Old 31st October 2013, 15:18   #14327
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Really sad to see the loss of life.

One of the new reports seemed to indicate the AC gas caused the fire to engulf the bus so quickly. It also highlights the need to design easier to access emergency exits in a bus, along with better training for the bus drivers. I think its Volvo responsibility to ensure that basic safety measures are incorporated in their buses.

Given the other incidents where volvo buses catches fire & completely destroys the bus in minutes, it does indicate a fundamental design flaw with their vehicle. I hope someone can force Volvo to investigate & fix this design flaw if any. If not maybe Team-BHP community should take the lead in pressurizing Volvo? Thoughts?
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Old 31st October 2013, 15:25   #14328
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Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
..... As can be made out from the reports, the bus was overtaking a car and in the process hit the culvert/railing. We can safely surmise here that there was probably not enough room for bus to overtake and yet he tried to squeeze through that gap; .....
I also believe that way.

Also there are reports that the driver called office before this accident to inform a tire burst but the guy asked him to continue the journey.
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Old 31st October 2013, 16:32   #14329
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Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
I think its Volvo responsibility to ensure that basic safety measures are incorporated in their buses........... Given the other incidents where volvo buses catches fire & completely destroys the bus in minutes, it does indicate a fundamental design flaw with their vehicle. I hope someone can force Volvo to investigate & fix this design flaw if any. If not maybe Team-BHP community should take the lead in pressurizing Volvo? Thoughts?
Beg to absolutely differ from the logic of Volvo taking the blame.

What I understand is Volvo designs a basic infrastructure for a particular model of bus (B7R, B9R, 9700, 9800, etc etc). This includes the design of the bus + engine configuration.

An operator buys a bus from Volvo and then customizes it as per his/her requirement. The interior is completely designed by the operator. Correct me if I am wrong, but Volvo does not do interiors, atleast not of the private buses in India (may be they do for the JNNURM Local buses).

So if the fire spreads rapidly due to the usage of flammable seat covers or other materials, how would Volvo be responsible for that ?

Regarding the AC duct / vent being design flawed, there are millions of them (Volvo) on the streets across the globe. Every accident doesn't engulf the bus in flames just because the AC duct / vent was design flawed.

There could be other angles to this particular incident. Who knows if the bus was carrying flammable substance in the lower luggage compartment !! The luggage compartment is bang near to the fuel tank.

Note: If one notices the petrol bunk near HSR Layout (before Mantri apartment) in Bangalore, one can see a long line of "Bose is Boss" Volvos parked. And guess what I have seen while refueling my car - The drivers / conductors cooking in the luggage compartment. Yes, I have seen cooking stove and gas cylinder being placed in the luggage compartment and people sitting inside the luggage compartment and cooking.

I am not associated with Volvo is any way whatsoever. Its just an opinion.
No offence intended to anyone. Condolences to the bereaved families.
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Old 31st October 2013, 16:32   #14330
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Also there are reports that the driver called office before this accident to inform a tire burst but the guy asked him to continue the journey.
You mean, driver called office and the he was advised to run on burst tyre? It must be changed with some spare before moving on. Seems like there is a lot being said and heard in this incidence and all media is trying to use this to bump up their rating. There can only be two learnings - a note to b taken by our "system" to curb these incidences by whatever way they actually can and second is for individuals to learn to understand safety needs, actions to be taken in such scenarios if any - to avoid/ to get out of it.
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Old 31st October 2013, 17:31   #14331
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Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
An operator buys a bus from Volvo and then customizes it as per his/her requirement. The interior is completely designed by the operator.
In the initial days of Volvo's (~10 years back), bus body was made by Azad coach builders. I guess the configuration and interiors were selected by operator. Not sure if this is still followed.
However, no matter who builds it I guess fire retardant materials should have been used. The down side of this is higher cost, which is a huge factor in this industry.

About this accident it is bit surprising how soon the fire spread. I had read about a previous Volvo accident, I guess that was on NH 4, where there was a head-on collision leading to vehicle catching fire. In that case many passengers were trapped since the exit (front side) was damaged and they were not able to get out through the windows by breaking those.
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Old 31st October 2013, 18:54   #14332
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May their souls rest in peace and I pray their families find the courage to deal with their loss.

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Originally Posted by Kimified View Post

I have always believed that Airavat Volvo's operated by KSRTC are the most safest on the road. Disciplined and trained drivers and great service. Sadly, they don't have any Volvo sleeper services available.
I echo the same belief. I've noticed that they just cruise at 80kmph, most of the times and they do not accelerate or brake hard. This enhances the comfort levels to the maximum. The private operators are harsh drivers and they are not mature enough to be handed the keys of a high speed luxury bus like Volvo. Most of the times, I'm sliding to and fro in my seat. Of course there are exceptions everywhere. Please note that these are my observations only.

9/10 times, I prefer to drive myself. Longer journeys, it has to be the train or plane.
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Old 31st October 2013, 19:11   #14333
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I spoke to a friend who makes Fuel tanks for trucks. He mentioned that the VOlvo tanks are made of plastic!
I was just shocked when I heard this.
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Old 31st October 2013, 19:54   #14334
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May all the souls RIP.
A very sad incident.

I guess the turn of events which led to the tragedy is as under.
1. The driver was driving at a high speed.
2. He hit a culvert/divider while overtaking or due to a tire burst (as some reports suggest).
- This damaged the driver door and the lower right portion of the bus where the batteries are located. Notice the broken door in the images. (It might have been damaged in the fire though)
- This also led to a short circuit in the battery compartment.
3. The driver pulled over, and got down along with the cleaner to inspect the damage not knowing that wires are burning due to short circuit.
4. He left the engine and AC running since passengers were still asleep. Hence the door was closed.
5. The wires near the fuel tank went up in flames long enough to ignite diesel.
6. The fuel tank burst, and now it was too late.
7. The passengers woke up to the blast and panicked after seeing fire all around.
8. The long curtains (see photographs) and the seat fabrics which are not fire retardant in most cases helped to spread the fire quickly.
9. Passengers didn't know how to open the pneumatic door. There was also a lack of awareness about emergency exits which are toughened glass and shatters immediately with one good hit. Presence of mind could had helped here. If hammer was missing any hard object could had been used, lap-tops, bags, or even a mobile.
10. Curtains also affected the visibility, smoke and panic made matters worse.

The bus got engulfed within a few minutes.
This is what I feel. Just speculating. I may be wrong.
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Old 31st October 2013, 20:24   #14335
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Call me stupid, but could the passengers not have used their body? One safety training given by our company post Mumbai floods was that if stuck in a flooding car, one should sit on front seat, put legs up to window, then push hard and windshield would come out. They even had videos of the same. I mean the emergency glass hammers do not deliver THAT much force?!

I'm just thinking - could there have been other ways? I'm not convinced that bags or mobiles may have been enough.
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Old 31st October 2013, 20:42   #14336
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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Call me stupid, but could the passengers not have used their body? One safety training given by our company post Mumbai floods was that if stuck in a flooding car, one should sit on front seat, put legs up to window, then push hard and windshield would come out. They even had videos of the same. I mean the emergency glass hammers do not deliver THAT much force?!

I'm just thinking - could there have been other ways? I'm not convinced that bags or mobiles may have been enough.
Yes, the method described in the training was to remove the windshield from the rubber beading. Glasses of the bus cannot be removed that way since they are pasted using a rubber based adhesive. They have to be broken in case of emergency. The hammer has a sharp point which easily breaks the glass. If it is not available, you can use any hard object. I case of cars, you can also use the metal rods of head restrains to break the glasses. Just make sure you protect your eyes.
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Old 31st October 2013, 21:48   #14337
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I have one question! Just how tough are the volvo glasses? I am not talking about emergency exit but the regular glass windows. In the dead of night, in panic and commotion, sleeping passengers might not notice or think about location of hammer and location of emergency exit. Its always total panic and chaos at those times. But there are glass windows all around the bus, right? Are these tougher than the emergency exit? If we hit them from inside with any object multiple times or kick with all might, wont they break? If they are almost 'unbreakable', then I think its high time Govt makes a new law to ban 'unbreakable' glasses in volvos.
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Old 1st November 2013, 00:13   #14338
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Here is some interesting theory about the bus accident :

The bus hit the divider and stopped within just 70-100 meters and one of the survivors told that the cleaner told everyone to get out of the bus quickly. This guy, who was slightly awake and was seated in the first row, jumped off the moving bus which had reduced the speed by then. He said, the bus was up in flames from both the sides and the smoke had engulfed it already.

What defies logic is the fact that within those 30-40 seconds of hitting the divider, the was entire bus was up in flames and the smoke was so dense !! This leads to suspicion that the bus was already burning, before it hit the divider. And the interesting part is that there were no diesel leakage marks from the point where it hit the divider till it finally stopped. If the diesel tank had got burst due to the impact, then we should have seen the diesel leakage mark all over the road.

The local Kannada news paper gives one more clue. The volvo buses which start from Kalasipalya area of Bangalore are known for transporting chemicals (sometimes highly inflammable ones too) illegally to earn that extra revenue. This is very common practice.
Looks like this must have caused the fire and in all probability, the bus was burning even before it hit the divider.

Last edited by n_naik : 1st November 2013 at 00:15.
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Old 1st November 2013, 00:19   #14339
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Or may be it was intentionally made to hit the divider to show that it started burning AFTER it hit the divider.

Whatever may be... may the souls RIP. :(

Last edited by Rehaan : 1st November 2013 at 17:54. Reason: Removing extra "..."s ;)
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Old 1st November 2013, 00:50   #14340
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Was reading in the TOI. It seems passengers just started running towards the front and in the process ended up trampling some of them who fell down ! When they realised that the front exit was blocked , some of them panicked and tried breaking open the " wrong windows".

We weren't there , so can't comment on the desperate situation those poor passengers went through.

There are hatches on the bus roof which can be pushed open from inside. Opening them would have allowed some smoke to escape. Also breaking the rear emergency windows would have allowed some of them to escape , also the smoke would have gone out.

Guess some awareness and help from the crew could have saved so many lives. Even if the driver and co-driver failed to open the main door , they could have tried breaking the emergency windows from outside.

About KSRTC , yeah their B7Rs and B9Rs have a full size emergency exit on the RHS in addition to the emergency exit windows ! Their drivers are also rated on the basis of FE and accordingly some kind of performance bonus. In trying to be more fuel efficient , most KSRTC drivers these days never speed or revv their engines beyond the green zone. I have been in their buses which would be overtaken even by ALL buses.

Once lemme say , no point in blaming the driver for overspeeding , when most of us just keep quiet and leave it to fate to decide whether we live or die. I just go and try talking sense to a driver , if I am in the bus and if the feel the driver is driving rash.
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