Family of 15 wiped out after bus they were in plunges into Panchganga river
Group of 15 family members was returning to Pune after visiting temples to give thanks for birth of child, when driver lost control of vehicle
Rescue operations went on through the night till the wee hours of Saturday morning
Thirteen people, including an infant, met with a tragic end after the mini bus they were travelling in fell 100 feet into a river in Kolhapur on Friday night. Three people were injured in the accident. The incident took place around 11.15 pm when the driver, ferrying 15 passengers back to Pune, lost control of the bus on the 140-year-old Shivaji bridge and hit a divider before plunging into the Panchganga river. Rescue operations were carried out till the wee hours of Saturday.
Sachin Kedari, wife Nilam and two kids, Sankruti and Saneedya, died in the mishap
The police have identified the deceased as Santosh Babanrode Warkhade, 45, his daughters Gauri, 16, and Dnyaneshwari,14, Sachin Bharat Kedari, 34, his wife Nilam, 28, their daughter Sankruti, 8, and son Saneedya (9 months). Sahil Dilip Kedari, 14, his mother Bhavana, 35, sister Shravani,11, Chhaya Dinesh Nagare, 41, her son Pratik, 14, and the bus driver Mahesh Laxman Kuchekar, 32. The injured have been identified as Prajakta Dinesh Nagare, 18, Manisha Santosh Warkhade, 38, and Manda Bharat Kedari, 54. The injured were taken to CPR hospital in Kolhapur.
The extended family was accompanying Sachin Kedari who was visiting temples in thanksgiving for the birth of his second child after eight years. Kedari's father, Bharat, from Balewadi, said, "Sachin and his wife had a second child after many years and decided to visit the Ganpatipule temple to give thanks. While Sachin's brother, Deepak, and I had some work and could not accompany the group, my daughters and other relatives joined him."
Manda Bharat Kedari, 54, was among the injured
He said, "My granddaughters were brilliant in both academics and sports. Sahil was a good cricket player and Pratik was part of the kabadi team in school." He added, "After visiting Ganpatipule, they proceeded to Kolhapur where they had planned to visit the Mahalaxmi temple there before returning to Pune by Sunday."
According to the police, "The bus driver seems to have lost control of the vehicle on the old bridge and landed in the river. The new bridge is under construction." Locals at the spot of the accident directed their ire at PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil, invoking memories of the Mahad tragedy in 2016 where an entire bus plunged into the Savitri river after the British era bridge collapsed. The old Shivaji bridge is still being used, locals said, despite work on a new bridge being started. That's because the archaeological department had stopped work on the new bridge three years ago, due to the demolition of an old pond near the bridge.
Total no. of people on the bus
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