Sole survivor in freak Pune-Solapur highway accident too scared to drive again

After driving trucks for seven long years, Amol Gaikwad seems to have lost all interest in his job after his experience as the sole survivor in a freak accident on the Pune-Solapur highway on Saturday

The mini-bus rammed into Amol's truck
The mini-bus rammed into Amol's truck

"I thought I was going to die too," said Amol Gaikwad, 23-year-old truck driver and the only survivor of a freak highway accident in which 11 people were killed while trying to save one pig.

As reported by Sunday mid-day, the mishap took place around 3.25 am on Saturday, when 10 devotees were headed to the Akkalkot temple of Swami Samarth in a mini-bus. The bus driver - Ketan Pawar – was speeding on the Pune-Solapur highway, and panicked when he saw a wild pig crossing the road. Trying to save the animal, he swerved sharply towards the right and lost control of the vehicle.

He saw it happen
From the opposite side of the highway, Amol watched the entire episode unfold, as the mini-bus rammed through the divider and careened towards his truck. "I have been driving trucks for the last seven years, but never witnessed such an accident in my life. I'm too scared to drive again," he said.

"I was driving a cement-loaded truck to Talegaon in Pune. I saw the pig crossing the road on my side of the highway, but did not think much of it as it was still far ahead of my truck," Amol recalled. Then he saw the pig cross over to the other side, as the mini-bus driver honked at it frantically.

He went on, "I saw the mini-bus speeding the driver honking at the pig, but the animal froze in its tracks. To save the pig, the driver turned the bus straight past the divider and towards my truck."

Quick thinking
Amol tried to drive the truck off the highway, hoping that the mini-bus would crash into the back of his vehicle and the bags of cement would absorb the shock. Instead, the bus rammed in the front of the truck, right where he was sitting.

He had just a fraction of a second to decide his next move. "For a few seconds, I thought I was going to die. I considered jumping off the truck. But I knew the bus driver had lost all control and if I jumped, there would be no one to control the collision. Thankfully, the bus stopped after dashing into my truck, and I called the police for help."

It took 10 minutes for Amol to struggle out of the mangled front end of the truck, after which he tried to help the locals pull out the crash victims, but in vain.

After the police arrived with an ambulance, he helped to move the victims out of the bus and gave his statement to the cops. "The owner of the truck took me to my village. I had planned to celebrate Holi there, but I have not even been able to sleep for the last few days. I have got a second life, but don't know what to do. All I know is driving, but I don't even feel like touching a truck anymore."

Copspeak

The Pune Rural Police have directed forest officials to take adequate measures to prevent animals from getting on the highway. "The case is under investigation and at present, we have found that the mishap was caused by the wild pig crossing the highway. We have asked forest officials to take up adequate steps for safety of motorists."

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