Palghar: Providential escape as ST bus falls into ravine

Driver was drunk, passengers tell police

Gautam S. MengleUpdated: Friday, May 27, 2022, 11:47 PM IST
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Palghar: Providential escape as ST bus falls into ravine | FPJ

It was a miraculous escape for passengers aboard a State Transport bus early on Friday, after the driver lost control and the vehicle plunged into a ravine in Palghar district on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway on Friday morning. Passengers have told police that the bus driver was allegedly drunk at the time of the incident.

According to the Palghar police, the incident occurred on Friday morning, when the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) bus, which had left from Bhusawal in Jalgaon district, was passing through the Waghoba Ghat while travelling towards Boisar in Palghar.

“The bus suddenly veered towards the ravine by the side of the highway, and fell off the road into the ravine, which is around 25 feet deep. It tumbled over a couple of times and landed on its side,” said an officer with the Palghar police.

Passing motorists who witnessed the accident immediately called the police control room, and personnel from the Palghar Commissionerate, as well as the Maharashtra Highway Traffic Police department were rushed to the spot, along with officials from the district and state administration. Rescue workers climbed down into the ravine, where passengers had already started helping each other out of the bus through its roof.

The passengers, along with the driver and conductor, were rushed to the government hospital in Palghar. Around 16 passengers suffered injuries in the incident, although only a few of the injuries were serious, officials said.

While recording their statements, some passengers have told the police that the driver of the bus had seemed drunk to them when the bus left from Bhusawal, and they had told the conductor to engage a different driver, which was not heeded. Based on what police have been able to piece together from eyewitness and passenger statements, they believe the bus driver may have tried to negotiate a sharp curve at high speed, and lost control in the process.

“We have registered an offence of endangering life and causing injury due to rash and negligent driving under the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act against the driver. We have also sent his blood samples to test for blood alcohol content to verify allegations of his being inebriated at the time of the incident,” said the superintendent of police, Dattatray Shinde, Palghar Police.

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