Twenty-seven members of a marriage party,including 15 women and seven children,were killed and 26 injured in an accident on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway early on Monday morning. A speeding truck rammed into one of the mini-buses ferrying the grooms entourage back to Pune after the wedding. The buses had stopped after one of them suffered a flat tyre.
Three mechanics repairing the flat tyre are among the injured. The group was returning after attending Yerwada resident Eknath Bahules wedding with Ghatkopar resident Manisha Gaikwad.
The accident took place on the main carriageway leading to Pune,about 30 km from Panvel around 12.15 am. The wedding party was travelling in tempo travellers. Both the buses had pulled over to the side of the road after the flat tyre. A mechanic was called from Khopoli,about 6 km from the accident site. The second bus was parked 20-25 metre behind the bus that had a flat tyre. The travellers had got off the buses and sat in the gap between the buses, Inspector General of Police (Konkan Range) Parambir Singh said.
A truck driven by one Somnath Phadtare,25,a resident of Satara,rammed into the bus that was parked behind. Phadtare allegedly left his vehicle at the scene of crime but surrendered soon after at the Khalapur chowkey. The impact of the collision was such that the bus was carried ahead by the truck and those who were sitting in the space between the two buses were crushed. Those sitting in front of the bus being repaired were also injured, Singh said.
Of the survivors,14-year-old Pranit Kharat of Pune has lost his father,mother,brother,sister and aunt in the accident. He was taken to Ashtvinayak Hospital for treatment and later shifted to Pune.
At Yerawada,it was heart wrenching to see people realising that entire families had been wiped out. Ravindra,a private bus driver who resides in Chandannagar,lost his wife Kalavati,45,daughter Reshma Sonawane,24,and two grandchildren,Om and Swapnil. The Kamble family was also completely devastated with three of its five members Shrikant (40),Nirmala Kamble (33) and daughter Shraddha (13) killed in the accident.