Three persons were killed and 64 sustained injuries after an overcrowded tempo carrying people returning from a wedding fell in a gorge at Kudpan in Poladpur taluka of Raigad district on Friday.
The deceased have been identified as Vidoba Jore, Tukaram Jore and Harishchandra Hogade.
Officials said the incident took place around 7 pm when the people in the tempo were returning to their hometown in Ratnagiri after attending a wedding in Satara. The vehicle fell down 50 feet into the gorge, said police.
Raigad District Collector Nidhi Choudhari said, “The vehicle carried more than permitted passengers and due to overcrowding, it fell in the gorge. Within an hour after the incident, we managed to take everyone to the hospital.” “We have not stopped our rescue operation, as we are still trying to verify whether there were only 67 passengers… We are checking with every passenger whether the person seated next to them has been found,” she added.
According to primary information received by the district administration, the tempo started its journey from Kondoshi village in Satara. The passengers were on way to Khavati village at Khed in Ratnagiri. “The incident took place at the Mahabaleshwar and Raigad border,” said Choudhari.
The Raigad district officials set up a disaster team to rescue the passengers, which helped in rushing them to the rural hospital in Poladpur.
Assistant Inspector Prashant Jadhav of Poladpur police station said, “Two men were declared brought dead on arrival while another died during treatment. Of the remaining 64 passengers, 35 are critically injured. Others have sustained minor injuries.”
“We have referred critical patients to district hospitals in Alibaug, Kamothe and MGM in Vashi,” said Choudhari.
At the time of going to the press, the Poladpur police was in the process of registering an FIR.
Raigad SP Ashok Dhude said, “We are trying to ascertain the cause of the accident. It had rained in Raigad… we believe the tyres of the tempo may have slipped…”
Officials said that as the road was slippery, the driver of the tempo must have lost control of the vehicle at a sharp turn in Dhangarwadi near Kudpan and the tempo fell in the gorge.
“We will seek help from the RTO (Regional Transport Office) to ascertain the cause of the incident, as there are chances that the vehicle may have fallen into the gorge due to a technical glitch,” said Inspector Jadhav.
In July 2018, a bus with passengers had plunged into Ambenali Ghat in Poladpur, resulting in the death of 30 people.
(With inputs from Tabassum Barnagarwala)
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