Five people, including four from Mumbai, were killed in two separate accidents on the Mumbai-Goa Highway on Sunday morning. The state highway police said there was a collision between a Mahindra jeep and an unknown vehicle around 4.30am around 15km from the Kasedi traffic post.
“Two people, Rajaram Shelar, 42, and his wife Chandra, 38, died on the spot while 19-year-old Rupali Chavan died at Derban Hospital in Savarda,” an official said, on condition of anonymity. The police said 11 other people suffered minor injuries and are undergoing treatment.
The official said all the three victims were residents of Malad. “They were travelling to Khed from where they were supposed to go to Mahabaleshwar,” he said.
The second accident took place around 12km from Nigde, which comes under the Chiplun traffic post. A traffic official said a state transport bus collided head on with a Tata Winger around 5am. “Two people travelling in the private vehicle were killed in the accident,” the official said.
Anand Borade, 35, a resident of Govandi, was killed on the spot while Kankavali resident Subhash Adivrekar, 55, was rushed to Parshuram Hospital at Patwardhan Lote village, where he succumbed to his injuries. “Some passengers on the bus suffered minor injuries,” the official said.
He added that the bus was on its way to Chiplun from Mumbai while the private vehicle was going to Mumbai from Devgarh. The five deaths have once again brought to fore the dangers that lurk on the highway, which connects the city to Goa. It is known for its several blind spots and narrow stretches.
“We identified 200 blind spots where accidents have taken place frequently for several years. We have written to the concerned authorities, yet nothing has been done,” said a senior official of the highway police on the condition of anonymity.
The 578 km-long highway also has several dangerous turns and slopes. “Several of these accidents occur because commuters drive at night when they are fatigued and sleepy. On several occasions we found the drivers to be intoxicated,” said the officer.
Highway police officers told HT that several people who are regular users of the highway are comfortable with the roads and thus take certain liberties. “There have been several cases where an accident occurred because the driver was trying to overtake someone. They assume that their knowledge of the highway gives them the freedom to take risks,” an official said, on condition of anonymity.
According to the police, over 70% of the accidents which occur on the highway are because of human error. Overgrown tree branches and lack of adequate signals have also led accidents, officials said.