Mumbai-Pune Expressway: 2 killed as 7 vehicles crash into each other

Tragedy occurred last evening after a speeding truck rammed into a car from behind on the Mumbai-bound lane of the Expressway, resulting in a pile-up involving five cars and two trucks

In yet another fatal accident on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which occurred last evening, two persons lost their lives after seven vehicles — five cars and two trucks — piled up on the Mumbai-bound lane of the Expressway. The deceased were identified as Raju Singh and Bharat Kiratkude.

A worker, holding a heavy-duty towing rope, wonders which vehicle he should pull out first to clear the mess
A worker, holding a heavy-duty towing rope, wonders which vehicle he should pull out first to clear the mess

Speaking to mid-day, the traffic officials from Mumbai–Pune Expressway said the incident occurred around 5.40 pm after a speeding truck rammed into a car from behind near Khopoli, resulting in a pile-up and a hour-long traffic jam on the Expressway.

One of the five cars involved in the pile-up
One of the five cars involved in the pile-up

What aggravated the situation further was the callous attitude exhibited by the motorist, who started driving in the wrong lane. Cops said they had no choice but to block the entire Expressway to prevent another mishap occurring due to such rash driving.

“We had to close the Mumbai-bound lane for 15 minutes to clear the vehicles involved in the accident. However, rather than waiting, motorists heading towards Mumbai started driving in the wrong lane. Stopping these vehicles complicated our task of removing the damaged vehicles and clearing the jam. This resulted in excess rush hour traffic,” said an official.

When mid-day called on the highway police helpline, an officer from the control room said, “We reached the spot with cranes and towing vans to remove the damaged vehicles and restore the traffic flow. At present, the vehicular movement on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway is smooth.”

Upon contacting, an officer from the Khopoli police station said the accident happened because of the speeding truck that was heading to Mumbai from Solapur. “The truck rammed into one of the cars from the behind, eventually resulting in a pile-up involving five cars and two trucks.

Families of the deceased and victims were contacted immediately. Truck driver Sidhheshwar Balasaheb Nikam has been arrested and booked for rash and negligent driving, among other sections of the IPC. All the injured were rushed to various nearby hospitals,” the officer added.

Hospital speak
A staffer of the Panacea Hospital, Panvel, where four of the injured were taken, said two of them were brought dead to the hospital. They were later identified as Raju and Bharat Kiratkude.

Dr Surendra Rathod, who is treating the injured, said, “Parag Shah (40) has sustained a head injury and was put on the ventilator after he faced breathing problems. Other patient, Rajesh Bolkawde, has sustained multiple fractures, probably due to a direct impact of the collision from the right side. We have informed their families.”

Family speak
Raju Singh’s brother Suresh said, “I got a call from police officials in the [Wednesday] evening about the incident, following which I informed Raju’s family. I hope and pray that the person responsible for this accident gets a befitting punishment.”

Recent mishaps

>> September 29: Two persons — Deepak Mane (35) and Dadaso Patil (35) — lost their lives after the Indica car they were travelling in rammed into a truck that was parked in the extreme right lane — reserved for speeding vehicles. The truck driver, who was supposed to change a punctured tyre, immediately fled the spot after the mishap occurred. The impact of the collision was such that the entire front portion of the car crumpled instantly.

>> September 22: Seven people, including four women, of a family were killed when a speeding SUV rammed into a dumper truck on the Expressway near Rasaini in Khalapur. Two people were injured in the incident. According to the police, the driver of the SUV lost control after a tyre burst and the car crashed into the divider first and then rammed into a dumper coming from the opposite side.

Time for change
Independent researchers Tanmay Pendse, brother of Marathi actor Akshay Pendse who died in an accident on Expressway in December 2012, and his friend Kaustubh Vartak surveyed the accident-prone spots on the Expressway and prepared a detailed report.

In the report, they also mentioned measures that could be implemented to make commuting on the Expressway safe. They started their survey in January 2013 and concluded it by mid-2014. “We have had many meetings with concerned ministers on the issue of accidents on the Expressway.

There is also need for motorists to follow traffic rules such as lane discipline and speed limit. Further, some of the emergency phones stationed at every 2-km of the highway are not functional and there visibility needs to be improved. This month, we will once again meet the ministers,” said Pendse.

14,192
No. of mishaps on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway between 2002 and 2015

1,200
Lives lost in these accidents

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