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. As the three were changing the tyre and fixing the diesel pipe of the bus,the bus which was behind rammed into the broken down one after a truck had rammed into it from the rear.
“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,I got a shock. My toes were bleeding and it was then that I realised that the bus tyre had crushed my toes completely,” 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 persons were in two tempo travellers,which were one behind the other. The passengers had just attended the wedding of Pune resident Eknath Baban Bahule and Mumbai resident Manisha Gaikwad. The bus which was in front then suffered a flat tyre and came to a halt 30 km from Panvel.
The driver of the second bus then pulled over and parked his vehicle nearly 25 metres away from the broken down bus. Passengers of the buses then got off and sat between both buses,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. As many as 27 persons were killed and 26 injured.
“My companions Faiyyaz Shaikh (22) and Aamir Shaikh (19) were also injured. We were all rushed to Ashtvinayak Hospital in Panvel. Doctors have told me that all my toes are crushed. They have tied a case around my leg. 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.