A wild tusker right in front of a bus full of frantic passengers! What more could be horror for a driver while manoeuvring the vehicle through a narrow, winding path in mid forest?
But Ambujakshan was calm. At first, he wanted to turn the vehicle around but found there was not enough room for such a move. He then braced himself for a daunting feat and drove the vehicle in reverse for over 8 km with the animal pacing right in front as he negotiated sharp curves and bends on the wild road. His alert and deft driving helped save the lives of over 40 passengers in the bus.
The visuals of the encounter, which took place on the Valparai route in Chalakudy in this district on Tuesday, have gone viral on social media. In the video, believed to have been shot by some passengers using their mobile phone, the jumbo could be seen coming from the opposite direction of the private bus.
The panic-stricken passengers could be heard asking the driver to reverse the bus, as there was no room to turn back the vehicle on the narrow road. Ambujakshan is then seen driving in the reverse gear from Ambalapara to Anakkayam after which the tusker was seen giving up the race.
“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 kilometres,” he said on Wednesday.
Residents said the tusker, which caused some anxious moments, had been frequenting the place for over two years. He was named ‘Kabali’, the title character of a Rajinikanth-starrer movie with the same name, by the local people.