Four die in accident on Mumbai-Goa highway

MUMBAI MIRROR, MUMBAI | 04 November 2013 14:34 IST

Four youngsters from a Thane colony died early on Sunday when their car collided headon with an oncoming private bus near Vadkhal Naka on the Mumbai-Goa highway. Two others travelling on the same car are comatose.

The Vadkhal police identified the deceased as Pravin Raje, 22, Mahesh Kadam, 25, Sandeep Shinde, 26, and Kishore Ankiti, 24. The two critically injured were identified as Ashwin Sawant, 28 and Shankar Raje, 24. Pravin Raje and Shankar Raje are brothers. 

"The accident took place at around 4:30 am," said Rashmi Karandikar, superintendent of police, Highways. 

"They were on their way to Goa from Thane's Vartak Nagar. The impact was such that the four occupants were killed instantly. Ashwin Sawant and Shankar Raje sustained severe head injuries and are admitted to Vashi's MGM Hospital in a comatose state." 

The bus, operated by Parel-based Om Sai Travels, had been hired by a private party and was headed to Mumbai. None of the occupants of the bus sustained any major injury. "The bus was not a regular route vehicle but had been chartered for a personal trip," said an official of the Maharashtra Truck Tempo Vahatuk Mahasang. 

As news of the accident reached Vartak Nagar, Diwali celebrations were called off as the entire colony went into mourning. 

"Two of those who died were working as assistants to the local cable operator," said a person related to the Raje brothers. "The rest were currently unemployed. They had left early in the day to avoid traffic." 

Karandikar said the police have issued an advisory to motorists, especially those travelling by their cars, to avoid National Highway 17 and take the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway to Kolhapur. The narrow, medianless NH-17 has become more accident prone than ever due to the ongoing work on turning the road into afour-lane highway. 

"The main reason motorists do not take the police advice is because the stretch between Kolhapur and Sawantwadi via the Gaganpawda Ghat is considered steep and dangerous," said the MTTVM official. "The Goa highway, on the other hand, is straight and has less steep sections and fewer sharp bends. But it is also very narrow." 

Ashok Datar, a transport expert, said the basic infrastructure on NH-17 has to be improved on a war footing. "A divider or segregation of some kind must be provided to ensure that vehicles do not careen into oncoming traffic if a driver loses control," said Datar.

Original Report

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