In a disastrous accident, a Goa-bus bound for Mumbai carrying over 50 passengers swerved off a bridge and plummeted at Khed, in Ratnagiri killing 37 passengers and injuring 15others.
According to police officials, the incident took place around 3.35 am when a Mahakali Travels bus travelling on the Jagbudi bridge lost control and fell down close to the Jagbudi river. Officials added that the driver of the bus had lost control of the vehicle.
Dr LD Narole, a civil surgeon from Ratnagiri, who was treating some of the injured, said that the total toll from the accident was 37 casualties and 14 injured as of now. Speaking more on the injuries, he said that most had sustained head injuries and multiple fractures. “Of the 14 injured, seven are currently admitted to a hospital in Dervan village, four were discharged, two have been transferred to Mumbai and one has been shifted to Kolhapur,” he added.
Families of the victims were in shock as they received news of the loss of their loved ones. Shailendra Haldankar (40), an employee at the water department in the BMC, was one of the casualties. The father of two children had gone to attend a religious gathering and was on his way home by another bus, when that bus broke down. He was then accommodated on the Mahakali Travels bus that was heading to the city.
Sangeeta, Shailendra’s wife, said, “I spoke to him around 8.30 pm on Monday and everything was fine. When I switched on the TV, the next morning I saw some news about a bus crash. Initially, I was alright as he was supposed to return by another bus but when I called and he didn’t answer, I became worried. Much later, someone answered his call and told me that he had been in an accident.” Shailendra’s uncle Gurudas added that even his sister, who lives at Malad, was supposed to return to the city but she didn’t travel at night and thanks to that she was alive.
Another victim, Rajendra Sawant (52), had gone to visit his ailing father. He was returning home on the bus when it plunged down, killing him. Rajendra’s wife Sushma, who is unable to travel owing to a spine injury, said, “He was supposed to return to the city on Wednesday but on Monday he informed me that he was boarding a bus home. We were very worried and it was then that we received the news of his death.”
Mahim resident Vashisht Soni (24) is thanking his stars as he survived the crash. Soni fractured his left hand and was transferred to Mumbai. Speaking of the crash, Soni said, “I had gone to Goa for some personal work. I was fast asleep in the bus when all of a sudden I heard a loud noise and realised something was amiss. I tried my best to save myself but all my efforts were in vain. Some people later rescued me and then the Khed police rushed me in an ambulance and I reached Mumbai safely.”
Another three friends — Alam Shaikh (31), Moinuddin Malik (26) and Tamu Malik (21) — were also injured. Alam said, “We were stuck inside the bus for almost two hours before we were rescued. The pain was unbearable and all of us in the bus were crying and screaming for help. The doctors at Chiplun hospital have told us that there is nothing to fear.”
1,227 Number of accidents that took place on the Mumbai-Goa highway in 2012
1,10,000 Number of people who were killed in road accidents in India in 2011