Mumbai: Man thrown off Lalbaug flyover, survives

24-yr-old Devendra Palampuri crashed his bike into the wall of the flyover, hurtled 30 feet towards road below, but survived thanks to leafy tree, which slowed down his fall

Sent flying off the Lalbaug flyover, a 24-year-old landed on the road below a nearly 30-foot drop and may live to tell the tale, thanks to a tree. Around 5.30 am yesterday, 24-year-old Devendra Palampuri, who works at a call centre, was returning home to Andheri with his friends after a late-night outing to Marine Drive.

Palampuri fell through the branches of this tree, which slowed his fall and ensured that he hit the road with much less force. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Palampuri fell through the branches of this tree, which slowed his fall and ensured that he hit the road with much less force. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

He was riding pillion on a bike and was on the Lalbaug flyover when his friend, Nikhil Sarasar (21), lost control of the two-wheeler and rammed into the cement wall on the edge of the flyover. While Shirsat’s leg got stuck between the bike and the wall, keeping him from flying off, Palampuri wasn’t as lucky and was sent hurtling towards the road below.

Saved by a tree
According to the statement given by Palampuri’s friends to the Kalachowki Police, a tree opposite Chivda Galli played a key role in saving his life. Palampuri fell through the branches of the tree, which slowed his fall and ensured that he hit the road with much less force, leading to a drastic difference in the injuries he suffered.

Palampuri’s friends, who were riding on bikes alongside him, rushed him and Sarasar to KEM hospital, where Palampuri was immediately admitted into the ICU around 6 am and doctors performed an emergency surgery on him.

“Two bones on the left side of his ribcage have been broken and he has suffered severe head injuries. Some object, maybe a stone or a branch, has also pierced through his intestine and the wound is quite serious.


Devendra Palampuri (24) the accident survivor of Lalbaug bridge

We have to keep him under observation for 48 hours,” said a doctor from the ICU. “People who fall from 30 feet and land on their head usually die on the spot,” he added. Sarasar suffered fractures in his left arm and left leg. They were plastered and he was discharged the same evening.

Family prays
“We are glad that he has survived the accident. Though the doctors are saying that his condition is critical, his family members and friends have been praying since morning for a speedy recovery,” said Nilesh Rana, Palampuri’s uncle.

Palampuri’s relatives said he would stay out till late often, but didn’t drink. “None of the boys were drunk when the accident took place. They keep going for casual outings, eat and come back. They were unlucky today (Sunday), but I am happy that my nephew survived such a dangerous fall,” said Rana.

When mid-day visited the spot where the accident had taken place, local shop owners said they came to know about the incident only when the police went there to investigate. “It was too early in the morning. None of the shops were open and hence nobody saw him fall.

The rider must have misjudged the turn and that may have led to the accident,” said Ashok Shinde, whose shop is right next to where Palampuri fell.

Lalbaug miracles
In a similar incident reported in mid-day in September 2012, pillion rider Ahmed Shaikh had been sent hurtling off the Lalbaug flyover. Three people were on the bike at the time of the incident and Ashok Swami, who was riding, had been forced to brake suddenly as he had misjudged the distance from the car. Ahmad had also survived with a fractured right leg and injuries to his face.

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