Nineteen persons were injured when a BEST bus jumped the divider and overturned after being hit by a speeding dumper on the Western Express Highway at Vile Parle (East), bringing traffic to a halt for several hours, on Saturday afternoon.
The injured included 17 passengers, the BEST driver and the conductor. The bus, on route number C-71, was travelling from Mira Road to Mahim.
Eyewitnesses told the police that the dumper had hit the bus on two prior occasions when the dumper driver, identified as, 22-year-old Kishan Vishwanath Kamble, was trying to overtake it. Although these hits weren’t severe, the bus jumped the divider after being hit by the dumper when Kamble tried to overtake the bus for the third time.
Residents from the nearby slum rushed to help the passengers when the bus overturned. “Inside the bus, passengers were piled over each other. We tried to pull them out of the bus,” said a paan shop owner. Injured persons were immediately sent to the civic-run VN Desai hospital and Cooper hospital. Five of the injured were discharged after administering first aid, said Virendra Bagul, public relations officer of BEST, adding that the BEST driver, Sahebrao Chikne, suffered injuries to his leg while the conductor, Vishwas Chavan, damaged his shoulder.
“After the incident, the dumper driver tried to flee but the police and a passenger caught him near Kalanagar junction in Bandra (East),” said senior police inspector of Vile Parle police station Shashikant Talegaonkar.
The incident caused a traffic jam on the WEH for around four hours as the traffic police used big cranes to shift the bus and the fire brigade was also called in as a precautionary measure. "It took me over one and half hours to reach Vile-Parle from Malad," said a taxi union leader.
“It was a delicate operation as both front tyres of the bus had come out,” said deputy commissioner of police, traffic, Pratap Dighavkar.
A police official said that thankfully there wasn’t any other vehicle coming from the other side, otherwise the accident could have been more severe.
Bagul said the overturned bus has been taken to the side of the road where it will be inspected by RTO officials on Monday.
“As the bus toppled, I held on, tightly, to the handle”
Mumbai: 49-year-old Tasadduk Hussain, a businessman, who resides in Malad, was one of the passengers in the bus.
“The impact caused it to overturn. I held on the handle of my seat. Right after the accident, I realised that my leg has been hurt. I managed to get out through one of the broken windows. Subsequently, I saw the dumper’s driver flee the spot. I narrated the incident to one of the bystanders who asked me to get into his car. We finally caught up with him near Kalanagar junction, Bandra (West). We then handed him over to the police.”
As told to Kailash Korde
“The impact made me bang against the window”
Mumbai: Twenty four-year-old Vishnu Tiwari, an elevator mechanic, was one of the passengers who was injured in the accident.
“I travel by bus to attend repair calls for elevators . I had taken the bus from Malad where my office is located. As the bus overturned, I injured myself on my back and I banged myself on one of the window. I will think twice before taking a bus now,” he said.
As told to Priyanka Vora
“Luckily, no lives were lost”
Mumbai: Auto-rickshaw driver Navnath Kumbhar, who witnessed the accident, said “I was behind both the vehicles when I saw the dumper which was desperately trying to overtake the bus.
“He tried at least thrice and, in the third attempt, hit the bus while overtaking from the left side,” added Kumbhar.
Kumbhar who witnessed the whole drama, was shocked when he saw the bus overturning. He, then, proceeded to offer help to the passengers who were stuck inside the bus.
“When the accident took place, I thought that many people would get seriously injured. Luckily, no lives were lost in the incident and almost everybody seems to be out of danger now,” said Kumbhar.
As told to Priyanka Vora