A Kerala bus driver’s presence of mind reportedly saved at least 40 passengers who were being chased by a wild elephant. The experienced bus driver saved the day by reversing his bus for as many as 8 km after a wild elephant started chasing him. The incident, which could’ve ended with another tragedy due to human-animal conflict, ended with all the people involved being safe and the animal too left on its own. The incident was reported from Athirappilly-Valparai Ghat Road.
The bus was being driven from Chalakkudy-Valpparai, and eventually drove an 8 km stretch from Ambalappara to Anakkayam after a wild elephant started charging towards the bus. As the narrow road had several sharp curves, the bus had to be driven the reverse gear. It was the bus driver Ambujakshan, who decided to simply keep driving the bus with 40 passengers in reverse.
With 28 years of driving experience, Ambujakshan is a seasoned driver, to say the least. After he successfully managed to avert the crisis, he was quoted in a PTI report saying, “It was an unforgettable experience… Everyone was gripped with fear… there was no way other than taking the bus in reverse gear for over eight kilometers.”
It should be noted that the elephant, which prompted some panic among the bus drivers, is called ‘Kabali’.
The Facts of the Matter
Imagine driving a bus on a treacherous mountainous region with several women and children as passengers. Out of nowhere, a wild tusker appears and starts charging towards your bus. Seasoned driver Ambujakshan faced a similar ordeal recently, and in a desperate bid to save 40 lives on the bus, he drove the bus in reverse mode for 8 km.
Ambujakshan presence of mind left all the passengers in shock and gratitude after the wild tusker gave up on the charge. A person in the bus ended up taking the video of the incident, visuals of which are making rounds of social media.
Watch Video here:
#Kerala: A video of a bus being chased by a wild #elephant has gone #viral. The driver of the bus took to reverse the vehicle for about 8km to take control of the situation. WATCH 👇https://t.co/DKzvsZ4vnZ#News #Wild #India #WildAnimal pic.twitter.com/HtiTIc9O18
— Free Press Journal (@fpjindia) November 16, 2022
The Swet-Inducing Moments
The bus in question was being driven on the Chalakkudy-Valpparai route earlier on Wednesday when a lone tusker started to give it a chase.
Bus driver Ambujakshan quickly took a stock of the situation. Knowing that driving left or right on the bus won’t be possible due to the treacherous condition, he simply decided to put the bus in reverse gear, and continued to drive in reverse for 8 km.
“Didn’t get disturbed”: Driver Gives an Account
While speaking to TOI, Ambujakshan said that he was not at all disturbed or in fear at the idea of the elephant charging towards the bus.
“My experience of driving through this road for nearly 28 years! I did not get perturbed, even when I saw the elephant heading towards the bus, otherwise, the lives of the passengers would have been at risk. And I drove the bus in reverse downhill,” he was quoted saying.
‘Kabali’ Has Been Cause of Nuisance Before Too
It should be noted that the elephant in question is popularly known as ‘Kabali’ amongst the locals (a reference to the poplar 2016 Rajinikanth starrer film by the same name). This was certainly not the first time Kabali caused passengers to sweat in fear and anxiety.
Further, the fact that it’s the mating time for elephants, slightest bit of provocation can be a fatal mistake for pedestrians and drivers. In a New Indian Express report, forest officer Sajeesh V S. was quoted saying, “Since it is their mating time, the tusker is violent and vigorous. It has now entered the peak of musth period. So, tourists should be cautious.”