At least 27 people are feared dead and many were injured after a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRCTC) bus plunged into a 300-foot-deep valley at Tokawade village in Thane district, around 160km northeast of state capital Mumbai, on Thursday.
The Thane-Ahmednagar bus carrying around 50 passengers hit a tempo (a three-wheeler vehicle) around 9:30am and slid off the hilly road near Malshej Ghat, a popular picnic spot.
“The bus was hit by a tempo carrying wood. The driver lost control and the bus plunged into the valley,” an MSRCTC official, who is not authorised to speak to the media, said.
“Driver Kisan Narayan Choudhari, 55, had 25 years of experience on the route and was one of our best drivers. The conductor, DB Bondke, 30, was also a regular on the route. Both were residents of Parner village in Ahmednagar. We still have no information about them,” he added.
The bus had left Lokmanya Nagar in Thane at 5.30am. It was headed for Ahmednagar.
“The district headquarters got the message around 10.30am and a team comprising police personnel, medical attendants and rescue workers rushed to the spot,” district disaster control officer Jaideep Visave said.
MSRTC GM (traffic) Suryakant Ambawdekar said erratic network coverage was hampering communication with rescue officials at the spot.
(With inputs from agencies)