Seventeen cars collided inside a tunnel on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in two similar, separate incidents on Saturday, leaving nine people injured. Three victims sustained serious injuries. The accident comes just 12 days after the fatal accident on the Expressway, in which 27 people lost their lives and 28 were grievously injured.
At around 4 pm yesterday, a tempo in tunnel number 2 near Kamshet on the expressway was moving towards Mumbai. Suddenly, it skidded on a wet stretch, forcing the driver to apply the brakes.
Since the tempo halted abruptly, the vehicles behind it too lost control and collided with the tempo, leaving nine injured. Barely 10 minutes after the incident, a similar accident occurred in the same tunnel, wherein six vehicles collided with each other.
Assistant Police Inspector Ranjendra Patil of Vadgaon Maval police station, said, “Just 10 minutes after the first accident, when our men were busy clearing the traffic that had piled up on the expressway, a similar accident happened in the same tunnel 50 metres away. Although no one was injured in the second accident, five cars were badly damaged.”
Eleven cars, two SUVs, two tempos and two buses were involved in the two accidents. According to Vadgaon Maval police, all vehicles involved in the accidents were allowed to leave the accident spot by 8.30 pm after the necessary inquiries and formalities were completed.
Sunday MiDDAY spoke to some of the injured and their relatives who had a miraculous escape, and they narrated rather horrifying experiences. The Choudhary family of four from Kalyan was returning home from Mahableshwar after a vacation. Their two month-old car was badly damaged in the accident.
According to 21 year-old Saili Choudhary, an engineer, her 32 year-old brother Sagar was driving the car and she sat besides him. Their father, 52 year-old Sunil Choudhary, a MSEB staffer, and mother Sunanda, sat behind.
At 4 pm, recalled Saili, as their car entered the tunnel, they saw a major traffic jam. Their car stopped behind another vehicle. “Suddenly I heard a loud noise, and the vehicle behind us banged into our car and, in turn, we smashed into the car ahead of us. In no time, SUVs, tempo, cars, and jeeps started colliding with each other.
There was complete chaos and we could hear cries of children and the injured,” said Saili. “My father sustained injuries to his leg because he was asleep,” she said. Her mother escaped unhurt.
Twenty one year-old student Rani Mane sustained only minor injuries. Her parents, however, were seriously injured and are admitted in the ICU of Lokmanya Hospital in Nigdi, Pune, for observation. Mane, along with her family, who reside in Kharghar, was returning from their native place in Kolhapur.
A senior doctor attached to Lokmanya Hospital, said, “We treated about 13 to 14 people with minor injuries. Three members of the Mane family required hospitalisation for observation, as they were rendered unconscious on the spot. Most of the injured either had superficial wounds on the head, face or had sustained fractures.”
Six ambulances and paramedical teams from the hospital rushed to the spot immediately after the accident. The highway rescue team also rushed to the spot for assistance.
Reflectors are important
Jitendra Gupta, transport expert, claimed that bad driving leads to such accidents and suggested precautions that can be taken while driving during
“Such accidents generally occur due to reckless driving. Drivers should not only be able to handle the vehicle but also have sound judgment and be aware of rules while driving on expressways, especially during the rains. As per norms, a distance of at least 60 feet should be maintained between two vehicles to prevent collisions, even if one skids on the road.
He added, “The role of the police is also important during such accidents. The police should ensure that drivers are not drunk and all the necessary reflectors are installed in vehicles. Reflectors are of great help when heavy rains reduce visibiilty. The police should also use barricades properly — in case of an accident, they help other vehicles passing by slow down.”
Two die in accident
Two people died in an accident on the old Mumbai-Pune highway yesterday after an SUV hit a motorbike near Kane phata at around 4 pm. Both bike riders were grievously injured and were admitted at Lokmanya Hospital and Pawana Hospital but both succumbed to their injuries by evening