Nine warkaris, including seven women, were killed and seven injured when a truck they were travelling in fell into the Nira river near Lonand village in Satara district in the wee hours yesterday. According to the police, truck driver Sanjay Maruti Anpat lost control while overtaking another vehicle on the bridge at around 3.30 am and drove over the edge.
The water level in the river was low and the ill-fated vehicle crashed onto the rocks 50 feet below. “The warkaris, all of whom are from Kambaleshwar village in Baramati, were on their way to Pandharpur when the mishap occurred. Seven persons died on the spot while two succumbed on the way to hospital,” said S I Bankar, ASI, Jejuri police station.
He added that truck fell on the rocks as there was less water in the river. The driver survived with a minor injury and has been taken into custody and is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital near Lonand.
List of dead
Saravati Gawade, Bharat Gawade, Ramchandra Kumbhar, Pramila Jagtap, Kisangiri Desai, Yashwant Gagtap and Haribhai Jagtap died on the spot, while Nagmal Gosavi and Ganpat Shinde died on the way to hospital. Ganpat was the head of the Kambaleshwar ‘dindi’ (group of warkaris). “He (Ganpat) has been participating in the wari for the past 14 years and leading the dindi for the last nine years. The dindi was to join a wari at Lonand and the women and dindi head were going to make shelter arrangements. Ganpat’s daughter Vanita was also in the truck, but fortunately survived and is being treated at a private hospital,” said Dattatray Gosavi, a relative of Ganpat.