SEVENTEEN PEOPLE died and 43 sustained injuries when a luxury bus rammed into two vehicles and rolled down 20 feet off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway on Sunday. The incident occurred near Shivkar village, around 11 km from Panvel, at 4.30 am when Nikhil Travels bus hit an Innova and a Swift car. The 17 dead include three children, the youngest aged around two.
Innova driver Ashish Patil, who was returning to Mumbai from Lonavla along with his friends, is the complainant in the case. In his statement to the police, he said, “Near Shivkar village on the expressway, we saw a Swift car (MH 02 CL 1480) waiting on the side of the road. The driver of the car told us that their car’s tyres had burst and requested help. When the tyres were being changed, a speeding bus rammed into the Swift car from behind and plunged off the road taking my car along.” Bus driver Iqbal Babalal Sheikh (66), a resident of Satara, was among those who died.
Police said prima facie it seemed Sheikh might have lost control while maneuvering two vehicles parked on the expressway. The Panvel city police have registered a case against him for causing death due to negligence, besides other sections, including one under the Motor Vehicles Act for “driving dangerously”.
DCP Vishwas Pandhare said the viscera sample of the driver would be sent to the forensic laboratory to determine if he was drunk at the time of the incident.
All those who died were travelling in the bus (MH 11 T 9698), which was plying between Satara and Mumbai. Many were from the neighbouring villages of Sajjangad, returning to the city after the end of summer vacation. One of them was Avinash Karande, a Physics professor of MD College in Mumbai, who was returning to his Bhandup home after a visit to his native village in Satara along with his wife and kids. Karande was declared dead on arrival at MGM Hospital in Kamothe, Navi Mumbai. His family members have sustained injuries.
ALSO READ: Past accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway
“The first patient was brought to the casualty between 5 am and 5.15 am. We received a total of 34 patients, three of whom were declared dead on arrival. Three other patients are admitted with serious injuries, including a woman with head and chest injuries. Most other patients were admitted for superficial wounds, fractures and lacerated wounds,” said Medical Superintendent Dr (Lt Gen) K R Salgotra, MGM Hospital, Kamothe.
Most of the passengers were sleeping when the accident happened. “There was a loud sound and a sharp impact, which led passengers to fall on each other. When the bus landed with a thud on the ground, I quickly got out of the window and began looking for my wife and my eight-year old son. I managed to pull them out. I could hear the screams of many passengers and tried to pull out as many people as I could. It was still pitch dark and I was looking for people with my mobile’s torch,” said Tanaji Dighe. The Satara resident was travelling to Mumbai along with his wife to write an exam for the post of civil judge on Sunday.
Here’s a list of the injured:
Praveen Khopde (Bhandup), Jagannath Dalvi ( Andheri), Sunita Dighe ( Satara), On Dighe ( Satara), Ritesh Chavan ( Jogeshwari), Nilesh Nale ( Thane), Nisha Yadav ( Satara), Sagar Patil (Ghansoli), Vipin Mhatre ( Ghansoli), Siddesh Kadam ( Thane), Raj Apnath ( Thane), Omkar Mangoli ( Thane), Omkar Salunke ( Lonad), Anita Nikam ( Satara), Manohar Bujahar ( Satara), Yogesh Kharade ( Dombivali), Akshay Gujar ( Satara), Shruti Shivantak ( Satara), Sunil Godse ( Diva), Sonal Godse ( Diva), Arya Bahadpure ( Thane), Nirmayee Bhoite ( Kalyan), Prakash Gaikwad ( Kalwa) , Aswini Bhoite ( Kalyan) , Sushma Shivankar ( Satara), Sangeeta Godse( Diva), Sandesh Godse ( Diva) and Lata Kale ( Kandivali)
12 people died after accident between a bus and a car on Mumbai-Pune Expressway, injured taken to hospital pic.twitter.com/9ZVraNfdn5
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 5, 2016