An Air India pilot, who had just landed in the city from Cochin, came to the rescue of five people after they were injured in a hit-and-run case in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Narrow escape: The ambulance that was carrying the 70-yr-old to
Cooper Hospital. (below) Satyendra Devda

"After landing at 1.15 am on Wednesday, I was travelling with my driver on Sahar Road towards my residence in Four Bungalows, Andheri (West), when I witnessed the accident," said Captain Satyendra Devda (42). "At 1.40 am, a truck that was speeding on the Western Express Highway towards Borivli, rammed into an ambulance at Bahar Cinema Junction in Vile Parle."

Devda said the ambulance that belonged to Aawaz Charitable Trust was transporting an unconscious patient, Coutinho (70), to Cooper Hospital, who was accompanied by his neighbours Melvin Almeida (28), Ronnie Mendonca (34) and Sachin Waghmore (24). "In all, there were five people in the ambulance, including the driver and the patient. The truck driver fled the spot," said Devda.

Devda said, "As I rushed to help the victims, I noticed that the part of the ambulance, where the truck had collided, was completely damaged. Almeida, who was sitting next to the driver, had sustained injuries to his left arm and had passed out. Driver Khwaja (23) had suffered minor bruises. While Mendonca sustained a big cut to his forehead, Waghmore had sustained minor injuries."

Devda then approached an auto driver and asked him to admit the injured to Cooper Hospital. "Another ambulance was passing by and I requested its driver to help me escort Coutinho to Cooper Hospital."

"On our way to hospital, I called the police control room," said Devda. An officer from the Vile Parle police station informed that while Mendonca and Waghmore were discharged, Almeida, who fractured his ribs and injured his collarbone, has been shifted to Holy Spirit Hospital in Andheri (East). The officer also said that truck driver Maurya was nabbed in Goregaon.