Five persons were killed and five injured when a milk truck crashed into rocks on Kasara Ghat on Mumbai-Nashik Highway early on Sunday morning, police said. The eight passengers, all residents of Malad and Goregaon, had hitched a ride on the truck bound for Aarey Milk Colony Saturday night.
Kasara police said the accident occurred around 1.45 am when the driver descended down a steep slope at great speed and lost control at a hairpin bend.
Five people, including, two children were killed instantly. The survivors are being treated at the Nashik Civil Hospital.
The deceased have been identified as Samina Arif Shaikh (33), her daughter Sara Arif Shaikh (4) and Abdul Kadir Shaikh (93) of Bismilla Nagar in Malwani and Shayda Bano Mohammad Hanif Shaikh (56) and Irfan Hanif Shaikh (22) of Dindoshi Pada in Goregaon. Assistant inspector Pradip Kasbe said the driver, Navnath Yashwant Gite (27) cleaner Anand Baburao Gaikwad (58) and three passengers, Nasreen Mohammad Asif Shaikh (29), Arsalan Asif Shaikh (6) and Alina Asif Shaikh (5), were also injured. Gite and Gaikwad are natives of Ahmednagar district.
According to Kasbe, milk trucks travel from Nevasa town in Ahmednagar district to Mumbai on a daily basis. The spot where the mishap occurred is also accident-prone.
“The deceased were all returning home from their native village and looking for transport. They saw that the truck was leaving for Mumbai and asked the driver to drop them. While a bus would cost them at least Rs 200 per seat, travelling in the truck would be cheaper,” said Kasbe.
All eight passengers and Gaikwad were crammed inside the truck’s cabin when the Gite approached the Ghat at full speed. “Medical test have confirmed that Gite was not drunk. He just could not negotiate the sharp turn at such speed. The truck crashed headlong into rocks piled at the end of the curve,” said Kasbe.
Gite has suffered serious leg injuries. The other four injured are stable. Gite has been booked for causing death due to negligence and rash and negligent driving.