Alert passenger thwarts bus bomb by a whisker
by Shamindra Ferdinando

An alert passenger yesterday saved many lives by detecting an LTTE time bomb concealed in an unattended parcel left on a Pettah bound private coach at Mount Lavinia.

The chance detection about a minute before the explosion near the Galkissa bus stand had saved lives but the person who planted the bomb got away.

Acting on the passenger’s suspicion, the conductor of the ill-fated bus had shouted to the driver to stop it and got the passengers out.

But for his quick reaction there would have many deaths, a police spokesman said commending the driver and conductor for their quick reflexes in stopping the bus in literally seconds.

According to Kalubowila hospital all 18 people who were hurt had suffered only minor injuries. Ten men, seven women and an eight-month old infant had been admitted, mostly with bruises caused by the stampede to get out of the bus.

The blast which ripped through the bus moments after the passengers disembarked safely set it ablaze.

At the time the bomb was found at 10.55 am, there had been many empty seats on the bus. Police were not sure whether the parcel had been planted when the bus began its journey at Moratuwa or about 30 minutes before its discovery.

Yesterday’s attempt was the latest in a series of attacks on civilian targets in the South this year with the attacks in the Moneragala district, Dambulla and Fort Railway station being the worst.

An off duty sailor recently thwarted an LTTE time bomb attack on the Anuradhapura weekly pola. Had he failed, it would have been the one of the worst attacks on a civilian target carried out by the LTTE in their campaign, a senior military official said.


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