As many as 44 pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh en route Sabrimala were injured on Saturday after the vehicle in which they were traveling in overturned in Laha village in Kerala's Pathanamthitta, state police said.
An eight-year-old boy injured in the mishap has been hospitalised in serious condition, the state health minister said.
As per the state police, the bus carrying pilgrims was going from Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada to the hill shrine of Sabrimala when it met with an accident.
All the 44 pilgrims onboard were rescued and shifted to the hospital through a joint rescue operation conducted by the state police, fire force, motor vehicle department and the locals.
State health minister Veena George also reached the spot and ensured treatment for pilgrims.
"Team of doctors and nurses are attending to the injured persons. First aid has been given to them", said the health minister.
The minister informed that as many as 21 persons were shifted to the Perunad Community Health Centre and others were given treatment at the Government General Hospital, Pathanamthitta.
George further informed that three persons, including an eight-year-old boy, were referred for treatment to the Government Medical College, Kottayam. "Their condition is serious", the minister informed.
"The boy has a spinal injury and he needs surgery. All arrangements for it have been done," the health minister said.
The health minister further assured that "Other people who were on the bus are being treated. They were coming from Vijayawada and we will make all arrangements for their safe return".
As per the pilgrims onboard the bus, the driver had not slept for the last 3 days and said the accident could have happened by him nodding off.
The district collector of Pathanamthitta, Divya S Ayyar, and the district police chief Swapnil Madhukar Mahajan also reached the accident spot.
"A detailed enquiry will be conducted", assured the officials.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)