It wasn’t a good Friday for Harish Pillai. An incredible and unfortunate episode claimed the 32-year-old’s life yesterday. A BEST double-decker bus lost control, skidded on the road and keeled over to its left side. The vehicle fell on Pillai who had halted his bike to attend to a call on his mobile phone. The victim died on the spot.
Onlookers and passengers in the bus said it was rash and negligent driving on part of the bus driver, who saw a traffic signal about to turn red, increased the speed and took a sharp turn, which resulted in the vehicle toppling over.
There were more than 50 people in the bus, 28 of them have been admitted to Bhabha hospital, Bandra. While some of them sustained minor bruises, others are said to be serious. All of them are, however, out of danger. The conductors Sachin Sonawane and Dattaji Dongre were also admitted to hospital with injuries.
Dr Shashikant Wadekar, medical superintendent, Bhabha hospital, said, “The patients are stable and our doctors are attending to them”.
The bus number 310 plies from Kurla station to Bandra station. The incident occurred at 4.30 pm on Friday at the Kalanagar junction in Bandra. Sources say, prima facie it appears to be a case of speeding, as the roads were empty, it being a bank holiday.
BEST officials denied it had anything to do with the age of the bus. There are about 4,700 buses in the fleet of which 122 are double-decker. Traffic was severely hit by this incident as vehicles going to BKC and Bandra station were stuck
Sameer Ansari (27), who works with a marketing firm, was in the bus. “I got in at Kalpana bus stop as I had work in Bandra.
As our bus was approaching the Kalanagar junction, the lights had turned yellow. However, our bus driver accelerated the bus and jumped the red light. He then took a sharp right turn from the outer part of the road, which resulted in the bus falling down on its left side.
Before collapsing, the bus was on two wheels, going right and left. I was on the lower floor of the bus. I saw a person in a pool of blood whose flesh and helmet had sprayed into our bus because of the impact. Till 15 minutes, the people in the bus did not know what to do, after which a windowpane at the rear end was broken by someone, which helped us get out,” he said.
A victim being carried to an ambulance amid a frenzied crowd of passers-by
Manish Jaiswal, who helped some of those injured, said, “It was a precarious situation. I was in another bus travelling behind the one that collapsed.
My driver stopped at the signal, but the double-decker did not. I took a big rock from the road, smashed the windowpane and helped people out. The bus driver shattered the windscreen and came out. There was much commotion and tension. Unfortunately, the biker lost his life. He died on the spot. His body was in shreds.”
Senior police inspector Avdhoot Chavan of Kherwadi police station, said, “From initial investigations it seems the bus driver Jalinder Bhosle is at fault. We have detained him.” The driver has been booked under sections 304, 337, 338 and 339 of IPC.
Speeding car hits 17 shoppers in Ghatkopar
Around 17 people, including a seven-year-old girl sustained serious injuries when a car lost its balance and hit them while they were busy making purchases on the busy Bhatwadi market in Ghatkopar (W) yesterday at 9.30 pm.
According to eyewitness Prakash Kadam, at around 9.30 pm a silver Maruti Zen lost control after he rammed into a vada pav stall and hit the pedestrians and shoppers near the footpath.
The car was moving at a high speed. Kadam will be handing over the photographs he took of the incident to the police today. The car driver who has been identified as Chikne (42), a local who runs a shop in the vicinity. He was apprehended by locals.
While the 7-year-old Bhoomi Sawant was taken to a private hospital nearby, 15 other injured victims were shifted to Rajawadi hospital. Additional Commissioner of police Quaser Khalid said, “The local Ghatkopar police team has reached the spot and are probing the matter.”
Speaking to MiD DAY, BEST chairman, Ashok Patil, was not prepared to admit the driver was at fault. “It seems he accelerated to pass a red light, which caused the mishap. But, we’ll personally investigate the matter before coming to a conclusion.”
Meanwhile, Sub Inspector NN Ugle of Ghatkopar police station visited the scene and recorded the statements of the eyewitnesses.
Worst of BEST
Year No of fatal accidents by BEST