17 dead as bus rams cars, drops down 20-ft gorge on Mumbai-Pune Expressway

A luxury bus banged into a stranded Swift on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and then dragged an Innova with it; 45 people were injured in the mishap

The spate of accidents on the dangerous Mumbai-Pune Expressway continue to pile up the body count, as 17 more lost their life last night. In a freak accident, a semi-luxury bus collided with a stranded Swift and a parked Innova on the E-way near Panvel.

The semi-luxury bus collided with a stranded Swift and a parked Innova on the E-way near Panvel. Pics/Sameer Markande
The semi-luxury bus collided with a stranded Swift and a parked Innova on the E-way near Panvel. Pics/Sameer Markande

The collision happened between 4:30 am and 5 am when the luxury bus (MH 11 T 9698) owned by Nikhil Travels hit a Maruti Swift car and a white Innova car, before finally plunging down a 20-feet deep gorge dragging the SUV with it. 45 people have been injured in the mishap.

The injured being carried to MGM Hospital. Pics/Sameer Markande
The injured being carried to MGM Hospital. Pics/Sameer Markande

“We reached the spot at 5:30am, when the rescue operation was being done by a few locals and passers-by along with few traffic personnel. Primary investigation revealed that the Swift (MH-04 CL 1480) had a flat tyre. They had stopped it on the first lane, which is the high-speed lane and were repairing the puncture,” said SB Lahane, Assistant Police Inspector, New Panvel police station.

A white Innova (MH 43 AR 6333) occupied by more than five people stopped to help them. However, none had any equipment.

“An Omni had halted to help out and offered a jack to repair the tyre. That is when the luxury bus hit the Swift. We have taken the statements of most of the victims and are probing the exact cause,” added Lahane.

Victims
The injured were shifted to four different hospitals in and around Panvel.

“Most of the victims admitted are out of danger and have suffered fractures and minor injuries. Around six ambulances of 108 reached the spot. We have asked the hospitals to avoid charging the patients,” said Deepak Sawant, State health minister, who had visited the spot and hospitals.

Collector of Raigad District Sheetal Tele Ugle said that private vehicles were also asked to help ferry the injured to different hospitals.

All the 17 dead, which includes six men and 11 women were shifted to Panvel based civic hospital. “Autopsy is done for all the deceased. Only one victim remains unidentified, who is kept at NMMC civic hospital in Vashi. Families of the rest 16 have been traced and the bodies have been handed over to the relatives. Most of them had suffered head injuries,” said Dr Basvaraj Lohare, Medical Superintendent, Panvel rural hospital.

When mid-day visited the spot at 11.30 am, the traffic was moving slowly.

Shriniwas Mundhe, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Panvel traffic Division said, “With the help of two cranes, we first pushed the Swift car aside and then lifted the Innova that was in the deep valley. Later the luxury bus was removed at around 1 pm.”

The deceased

Vaijanti M Gujar (35), Thane
Vilas Mane (62), Nerul in Navi Mumbai

Chandrabhaga Balkrishna Chavan (50), Kandivli
Sandip Y Shivkare (34), Satara

Kashinath Sakharam Nikam (45), Ambewadi in Satara
Priya Kalyan Kadam (25), Thane

Chatura Shivaji Kadam (42), Sonawali in Satara
Sandip Vitthol Chavan (32), Thane

Ananya Kalyan Kadam (3-year-old) in Satara
Shraddha Dattaray Kale (20), Kandivli

Vedika Yadav (two-year-old)
Avinash Hanumant Karande (38), Bhandup

Iqbar Shaikh (66), Satara
Four women have not been identified.

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