.At least 13 persons, including three minors, died, and 29 others were injured after a private bus carrying young male and female members of a traditional music troupe fell into a 200 meters gorge on the old Mumbai-Pune highway in Raigad district early on Saturday, said police.
The incident took place behind Shingroba temple, located in the 'bhor ghat' section between Lonavala and Khopoli on the old Mumbai-Pune highway, around 4.15 am.
Driver might have lost control of the vehicle, says police
The stretch of the highway has a steep slope and curves and the driver might have lost control of the vehicle due to overspeeding, said police. The driver of the bus who was identified as Hariratan Sopan Yadav, 40, a resident of Jogeshwari also died in the accident.
The musical troupe “Baji Prabhu Vaadak Group” from Goregaon was returning from Pimpri Chinchwad in Pune after attending a function on Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar’s birth anniversary.
“The bus was carrying 42 members of the musical troupe from Mumbai's Goregaon. They were returning to Goregaon after taking part in an event in the Pimpri Chinchwad area in the Pune district. The bus had left for Mumbai at around 1 am and it met with the accident around 4.15 am,” said a police official from Khopoli police station.
“After the incident, a rescue team from the local police station, volunteers of Yashwanti Hikers' group from Khopoli, and some personnel of IRB company rushed to the spot and launched a rescue operation,” said Shrish Pawar, senior police inspector from Khopoli police station.
Injured admitted to hospitals in Khopoli and Navi Mumbai
At present, 10 injured were admitted to Khopoli Nagar Parishad Hospital and 18 injured at MGM Hospital in Kamothe. Raigad district guardian minister Uday Samant visited the hospital in the morning to know the condition of the injured. After meeting with the injured, he told the media that the condition of the five injured was critical and a few of them were discharged after giving first aid. "Most of the deceased and the injured were from Goregaon, and Santa Cruz in Mumbai," said police.
Shinde visits those who survived
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited MGM Hospital in Kamothe and later visited the accident site. He announced an ex-gratia of ₹5 lakh to the kin of the deceased. He ensured that the injured would be given the best treatment at government's expense.
One of the deceased, Juhi Dipak Sawant, 18, a resident of Dindoshi, had appeared for the class 11 examination. His father Dipak said that he had talked when she left Pune. “She told me that she would call when she reached Mumbai,” said Sawant.
Meanwhile, the Khopoli police station registered a case of rash driving causing death against the driver under sections 304 A, 279, 337 and 338 of IPC and section 184 of the Motor Vehicle Act.