​Locals, cops use metal cutters to save 15

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 20 Maret 2013 | 22.23

Mahesh Bhandari of Veral village in Khed taluka, Ratnagiri, woke up with a start at 2.55am on Tuesday when he heard a booming crash. A luxury bus had just crashed down the bridge next to Jagbudi river, which flows through his village. The bus fell on the rocks at the edge of the river.

"My house is right next to the bridge, therefore, I was the first to reach the spot. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the bus lying upside down, with its tyres facing skywards. Some of the passengers inside had begun to scream, but I could not see them in the dark,'' said Bhandari (36) who runs a grocery shop in the village.

Bhandari first rushed to his father, and then called his friends—Avinash Nikam, Husain Hanif Parkar, Bala Panchal and Kundan Satpute, who chipped in despite a fractured arm. Bhandari then called up the Khed police . Within 10 minutes, around 40 locals and the police were already by the riverside , looking on at the bus in horror.

"First two cranes reached the bridge within 20 minutes. Later, a large crane was brought to the spot by district officials. These slowly lifted the bus up by a foot, so that metal cutters could be used to gently remove the dead and the injured from the bus. The entire operation lasted four hours,'' recalled Parkar.

"Most of the passengers suffered severe head injuries, as the bus landed on its top. One youngster, a native of Uttar Pradesh, was the first to be rescued from the backseat after the body of the bus was cut. Later, a Russian woman, Maria Costej (33), was heard crying for help from a middle seat,'' Parkar added. Her right arm was fractured and she also said her hair was stuck on the roof of the bus. However, she was safely rescued, unharmed.

At the Khed police station, though, Maria Fernandes from Colva in Goa, cried inconsolably as her only son, Regan Fernandes (28), died in the accident . "He was my only son; he was training at a maritime ship in Mumbai . He usually travelled by trains, but this time he chose to go by this bus,'' said Fernandes, who is a widow.

Dr S A Shaikh, medical officer at the rural hospital, told TOI: "This is the biggest road accident we have seen on the Goa-Mumbai route. We had to go through the tragic procedure of counting all the 37 bodies and then making a list of the names and ages of the dead and the injured.''

Relatives of another Mumbai-based deceased, Pushpa Chodankar (62), said she had been to Mhapsa in Goa to meet an ailing relative. She died on her way back to Mumbai. Pushpa, who lived near Chakala in Andheri (East), was unmarried.

Meanwhile, Bajirao Lad, owner of Mahakali Transport's ill-fated bus also complained of narrow road stretches and bridges on Goa Highway which, according to him, were making bus driving a difficult task for the drivers and, thus, the mishaps.

Crash on nh-17 killer curve claims bus passengers

Mahakali Transport luxury bus was on its way to Goa from Mumbai (NH-17 ) with 52 people on board, including the driver, Santaji Kailash Kirdatta (35).

Site of tragedy

The accident took place on Jagbudi river bridge in Veral village, Khed taluka, Ratnagiri district. The village is located 250km from Mumbai.


The accident took place in the wee hours of Tuesday around 2.55am.

What happened

While approaching the old, British era bridge, the road curves towards the left. The driver lost control at this curve and crashed into the railing of the bridge. The bus consequently hurtled 40 feet down the bridge. It landed upside down, with its tyres pointing skywards.

The rescue operation

Within minutes of the crash, Mahesh Bhandari (36), a villager, rushed to the spot and called his friends and the police. Within 20 minutes, three cranes reached the top of the bridge to lift the bus.

After a while, some 40 other locals, including Avinash Nikam (30) and Husain Hanif Parkar (30), joined the policemen in cutting open the crushed sections of the bus to rescue the passengers. The entire operation lasted four hours.

Nikam and Parkar told TOI that one youngster, a native of Uttar Pradesh, was the first to be pulled out, followed by a Russian woman, Maria Costej (33), who was carefully removed from a middle seat.

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