At least seven people were burnt alive and thirteen others injured, five of them critically, when a tanker filled with highly inflammable material caught fire after overturning near in Thane on Saturday.
The mishap took place near Chaori check post on the Mumbai-Ahmedbad Highway at around 3 PM, officials in the district disaster control room said. The tanker, said to be carrying petrol, went up in flames after overturning and exploding.
Three persons travelling in the vehicle and four others walking on the road were burnt alive, control room chief Jaideep Visave said, adding the tanker was on its way to Mumbai from Ahmedabad.
Fire fighters and ambulances from nearby towns were rushed to the spot. The explosion was so powerful that at least six vehicles, including two 6-seater autorickshaws, one bike, two cars and a hand cart which were in the vicinity of the mishap-hit vehicle got damaged, police said. The leaping flames from the burning vehicle also gutted a portion of a hotel, located nearby.
The highway was partially thrown open to traffic in the evening after fire brigade and highway authorities managed to extinguish the fire and tow the tanker away. Out of some injured admitted to a hospital in Kasa, the condition of five of them is said to be critical, while some injured were shifted to Thane civil hospital, police said.
Most of the victims are charred beyond recognition and police are planning to conduct DNA tests to identify them, sources said.