NINETEEN people were injured when the BEST bus they were travelling in overturned on being hit by a speeding BMC dumper on Vile Parle flyover Saturday afternoon. It was the presence of mind of a 49-year-old commuter,Tasadduk Hussain,who managed to give the fleeing dumper a chase and nabbed the driver,Kishan Kamble (23).
The bus was plying route C-71 from Mira Road to Mahim. According to commuters,Kamble tried to overtake the bus several times but bus driver Sahebrao Chikale (58) did not let him.
However,on the Vile Parle flyover,Kamble overtook the bus and turned his dumper to the right,hitting the bus. The bus swerved to the right and hit the divider before toppling over.
I was standing in the middle of the bus. The impact of the accident was such that the bus overturned, Shashikant Kamble,a commuter whose leg was fractured,said.
Meanwhile,Hussain,who managed to climb out of the bus along with a few other passengers from the emergency exit,saw the dumper speeding away and decided to chase it.
I managed to get a lift and we finally caught up with the dumper at Kalanagar junction. We nabbed the driver and handed him over to Vile Parle police, said Hussain. The car was driven by Baldevsingh Manku,a former BMC corporator.
Chikale,the injured commuters and the bus conductor were taken to V N Desai municipal hospital in Santa Cruz. The wreckage took time to be removed,leading to a jam on the Western Express Highway.
Four passengers,including Vishwas Sawant and the conductor who suffered a fracture,were admitted to the hospital.
Kamble was driving erratically. He hit the bus while trying to overtake from the left. Due to the impact,the bus was pushed to the other lane. We will follow due procedure and conduct a departmental inquiry to formally determine if the driver was at fault, S M Karlekar,assistant general manager (transportation),BEST undertaking,said.
Last year,a speeding double-decker BEST bus had turned turtle on the Western Express Highway near Kalanagar,killing a motorcyclist and leaving several passengers injured. BEST had suspended the driver.
According to a recent study by the union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,BEST buses was involved in 840 accidents in 2011-12.
This was the second worst record in a comparison of public transport undertakings of six major cities in India.
However,the number of fatalities in accidents involving BEST buses was lower than other cities.