For Lilavati and Baban Bahule,the wedding day of their only son soon turned into a tragedy that devastated their lives. They lost 27 relatives,including family members,in an accident that occurred near Khalapur on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway early on Monday.
Around 100 people,comprising relatives and friends of the Bahule family,left Pune for Ghatkopar on Sunday morning for the wedding of Eknath Bahule and Manisha Gaikwad. We took along as many relatives and friends as we could. We started late and so everything was delayed. By the time the wedding ceremonies and the dinner were over,it was 9.30 pm. We left for Pune from Ghatkopar around 10 pm, said Rakesh Nikalaje,a relative.
Lilavati,who was travelling in a car that had stopped a little ahead of the buses ferrying the guests,said,While the mechanics were replacing the burst tyre in one of the buses,most of the guests came out and were sitting on the road in front of the buses. I remained in our car. After a while,I heard tyres screeching,followed by loud screams. I immediately stepped out of the car. At first,I couldnt get a sense of what had happened because it was still dark. However,I realised that the guests,including women and children,who were sitting in front of the bus,had been crushed.
Lilavati said the ambulances arrived in 15-20 minutes. Her niece Reshma Deepak Sonawane and her two sons died in the tragedy. Her two cousins and their two children were also killed. She also lost a sister-in-law.
According to Nikalaje,there were five vehicles with them. Two 20-seater minibuses,one 14-seater Tata Winger and a Mahindra Xylo. The bride and bridegroom were in the Xylo with Lilavati and three other persons. The Xylo was following the two buses throughout the way. They also stopped their car when the two buses were parked after the tyre of one of the buses burst. Fortunately,the driver of Xylo parked the vehicle at a distance hence Manisha and Eknath were unhurt, said Nikalaje.