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Bride's grandfather awaits news of kin

 Just hours after her wedding was celebrated with gusto at Ghatkopar’s Samaj Kalyan Mandir Kendra, relatives of the bride and groom were searching for their kin who were involved in the expressway disaster. Amidst all this, Manisha’s 67-year-old grandfather Sopan Kokate is still anxiously awaiting her phone call, as he couldn’t accompany his family members to Pune because of his ill health.


Worried sick: Sopan Kokate is still anxiously awaiting to hear from his granddaughter. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

“When we got the bad news at 4 am, some of us left for Pune to track down all the injured people. We were told that police had arrived late at the scene and that the truck driver had tried to flee from the scene,” said the sexagenarian. “The groom’s mother, who was travelling with the newlyweds, was devastated when she arrived at the scene but was advised to carry on with the journey,” he added.

The bodies were sent to Laxminagar in Pune for the last rites. Manisha’s neighbours were jolted out of sleep at 5 am and were informed about the horrific incident. Vishal Kokate (19), a relative of the bride, said, “We have been glued to the television all morning waiting for updates from Pune. The wedding was a huge success but what followed has changed everything.”

Manisha’s family members, who are from an extremely humble background, had spent one and a half lakh rupees for the wedding. The bride’s father, Shahaji Gaikwad, is a small-time vocalist in Ghatkopar.

Timeline

May 27
13:05
The wedding mahurat was scheduled for 13.05 at Samaj Kalyan Mandir Kendra, Ghatkopar (W). But the ceremony was delayed, as guests from Pune had not arrived

15:00
The wedding ceremony commenced and went on till 16.30

19:30
The 60 guests from Pune began preparations for their return journey. The minibuses arrived around 19.45, and then they proceeded on their journey

22:00
The bride, the groom, the groom’s mother and other relatives commenced their journey in a tempo for Pune after assembling and packing all the wedding gifts

23:00
A tyre of one of the Pune-bound minibuses was punctured on the expressway. Both the buses halted and switched on their tail lights. The guests got down and assembled between the two buses, while the tyre was being replaced

May 28
00:10
A highway patrol vehicle halted near the two buses and was offering to help

00:15
A speeding truck rammed into the stationary mini bus from behind. The impact of the mishap caused the bus to run over the people sitting between the two buses crushing them

04:00
The bride’s grandfather, Sopan Kokate, gets a call from one of the relatives informing him about the tragic accident

05:30
The Mumbai-based relatives of the injured left for Pune to locate their kin who were admitted at different hospitals between Panvel and Pune 

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