Just two months after it was opened, the Mrinal Gore flyover in Goregaon witnessed a deadly accident yesterday after an auto rickshaw driver lost control of his vehicle on the wet, slippery road. One of the passengers – a 58-year-old man – lost his life after another vehicle rammed into the auto from behind and knocked it on its side.
One of the passengers in the auto 58-year-old Deepak Panchal lost his life after the vehicle began to skid on the slippery road and a Hyundai i10 crashed into it from behind. Pic/Ranjeet Jadhav
Skidding is a major threat during the monsoon, particularly on new roads and flyovers. Despite this, the auto driver was speeding on the flyover. There were three passengers at the back — Deepak Panchal (58), his wife Aruna and sister-in-law Ketki were returning home from Malad (E) when the accident took place around 1.30 pm.
An eyewitness said the auto was plying on the east-bound arm when it suddenly began to skid. Unable to control the auto at high speed, the driver braked suddenly and started to lose balance. Right behind was another speeding vehicle — a Hyundai i10 — that rammed straight into the rickshaw. The impact caused the auto to swing by 180 degrees, so it was facing the oncoming traffic before it finally fell on its side.
The car behind was also speeding and rammed straight into the auto and continued to skid till it hit the barrier
The male passenger fell out of the auto and landed right on his head. Other motorists stopped and called the emergency services when they saw him bleeding profusely. However, they alleged that it took half an hour for the police, 108 ambulance and traffic cops to arrive. By that time, the auto driver had fled.
Within 10 minutes of the accident, two of Panchal’s relatives arrived on the spot on their bike.
“I saw my uncle was bleeding and so we tried getting help,” said the relative. But when the ambulance arrived, a doctor from the 108 services declared Panchal dead.
'108 not for the dead'
According to eyewitnesses, the 108 ambulance refused to take the patient to a nearby hospital despite the family’s pleas to take him to Balasaheb Thackeray trauma center. “We don’t take dead bodies is what the doctor had said,” said the relative.
Later, the body had to be transported in the police van.
When mid-day contacted Dr Amol Pandit, the Mumbai district manager for the 108 services, he refused to speak and asked the reporter to contact the head office in Pune instead.
Another senior officer who is responsible for 108 emergency services said, “We function only for emergency calls. So if a patient is declared dead after examination by a doctor from 108, they can refuse to take the body to hospital. In such cases, general ambulances are called to transport the body. This is our protocol — we don’t take dead bodies.”
However, the director of health services, Mohan Jhadav said, “A doctor present in 108 can declare a patient dead. But whether the patient is dead or alive, he needs to be taken to the nearest hospital. We will look into the matter.”
Meanwhile, the cops have arrested the man behind the wheel in the i10 car, Mukesh Saha. Such was the car’s speed that even after ramming into the auto, it continued to skid till it slammed into the barrier.
PSI Udhav Bhutkar of Vanrai police station confirmed that an FIR had been filed against him, while the cops are still looking for the auto driver.