A BEST bus going on the wrong side of the road collided head-on with a school bus, resulting in injuries to 11 students and three teachers yesterday.
The incident took place near Nahur flyover at 8 am when the Marol-bound BEST bus no 522 smashed into a vehicle that was plying students from Euro School, Airoli, while trying to avoid an oncoming auto rickshaw. The BEST driver saw the approaching school bus and slammed the brakes, but it was too late by then.
The BEST driver, Shantaram Narayan Niwas (46), sustained a minor knee injury and has been booked by Navghar police. The school bus driver, Prakash More, sustained injuries to his head and torso and was admitted to Heritage hospital, Airoli.
According to cops, the 11 students, in the age group of 3 to 6, and three teachers were hurt in the accident while one female commuter travelling in the BEST bus suffered minor injuries. They were first taken to Agarwal hospital, Mulund (W), but later transferred to Fortis hospital in the same area.
Seven students who escaped with minor cuts and bruises were discharged from the hospital in the afternoon after a thorough check-up while four other students were still undergoing medical treatment. The youngest student was three and a half years old, and was not injured in the incident.
Sanjeev Shah, parent of one of the students, said, “My daughter Rutvi, was sitting on the second seat along with a teacher when the accident took place. Her head banged against the back of the seat in front of her, which resulted in a deep three-inch long scar on her forehead.”
“She will undergo plastic surgery today after she was administered a few stitches. She is now trying to get over the shock,” added, the Mulund resident.
Another student, Manoj Kumar (5), sustained deep cuts to his forehead and under his left eye.
The school management has agreed to foot the hospital bills of the students and teachers. Out of the three teachers, Nishita Sawant (34), and Smitha Gupta (42), suffered minor injuries. Both of them were kept under observation in the general ward. However, Vidhatri Gajra’s (26), injuries were serious and she was initially kept under observation in the ICU, but later shifted to the general ward.
Dr S Narayani, head of the Fortis hospital, said, “Eleven children and three teachers were brought here. Most of them had minor injuries and have been discharged. Four are still with us. They have been kept under observation.”
Sub-inspector Vinod Patil, Navghar police station, said, “We have booked the BEST bus driver under relevant sections of IPC and further investigations are going on. The mishap took place after the BEST bus tried to avoid an auto on the road and then collided with the school bus.”
The BEST driver has been booked under sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of IPC.
However, NA Walawalkar, PRO, BEST, said, “A case has not been registered yet, as both drivers have sustained injuries and are undergoing medical treatment at a hospital. Once they are discharged, the department will conduct an inquiry and if our driver is found guilty, we will take action against him.”