For 29-year-old Amol More,the phone call to repair a flat tyre of a bus stranded on the Mumbai Pune Expressway around 12 am on Monday was a routine one. With two companions in tow,the Khopoli-based mechanic made his way to the spot nearly six km from the shop where he works.
A truck rammed into the other bus of the entourage,causing it to collide with the broken down bus as the three were changing the tyre and fixing the diesel pipe of the latter.
It all happened in a second. One second I was fixing the bus,the next second I heard people screaming in pain. I could not feel my toes. When I looked down,my toes were bleeding. The bus tyre had crushed my toes, said More.
More was called to repair the tyre of a Tempo Traveller which was transporting guests and relatives of a Pune-based groom back to their houses in Pune. The people were in two tempo travellers. The passengers had just attended the wedding of Pune resident Eknath Baban Bahule and Mumbai resident Manisha Gaikwad. The bus in front then suffered a flat tyre and came to a halt 30 km from Panvel. The driver of the second bus pulled over and parked his vehicle nearly 25 metres away from the broken down bus. Passengers of the buses got off and sat between them,while some of them sat in front of the broken down one.
While the mechanics were fixing the tyre,a truck driven by Satara resident Somnath Phadtare (23) rammed into the bus parked behind. The accident took place around 12.15 am. The impact of the collision was such that the bus was pushed forward and rammed into the other bus.
My companions Faiyyaz Shaikh (22) and Aamir Shaikh (19) were also injured. We were all rushed to Ashtvinayak Hospital in Panvel. I still cannot come to terms with what transpired. One second,people were talking,kids were sleeping and we were working while the next second everyone was screaming in horror, said More.
More and his two companions,both of whom suffered fractures,were shifted to a hospital in Khopoli.
In Pune,Shubhangi Ajay Pathare,bridegroom Eknath Bahules cousin,remembers seeing her mother,cousin and siblings being crushed by the impact of the collision. Pathare was just getting into the Tempo Traveler when she saw her mother and two siblings being killed.
Shubhangis mother Mangal,siblings Shubham (24) and Sanjana (21) and cousin Sapna Gaikwad,all residents of Nagpur Chawl in Yerawada,died in the accident.
My father (Suresh Gaikwad) was inside the Tempo Traveler. I was outside with my mother,brother and sister. I got up to go see my dad. As I reached the door,someone shouted and the next thing I remember is all of them in a pool of blood. I could see my mother,cousin and siblings bleeding profusely. In some time ambulances came to the spot. I kept trying to resuscitate my mother. I kept doing that till we reached Sassoon Hospital. The doctors took all of them in. They did not tell me for long what had happened to them, said Shubhangi,breaking down.
Shubhangis husband Ajay Pathare,who also survived the accident,took some of the injured to a hospital in Panvel.
Relatives said Shubham worked for a business process outsourcing (BPO) company and also was pursuing B.Sc. Sanjana was in the second year of B.Sc while Sapna worked for the same BPO as Shubham. Shubhangi said,I remember my mother had given me a call early on Sunday morning to wake up all of us for the journey. She had so many plans for the journey.