Fifteen passengers and two crew members of a state-owned bus were saved from being washed away by the quick action of locals the police after they were stranded on a bridge over the raging river Rangavali at Navapur in north Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district early on Thursday. The bus driver who drove on to the bridge though flood waters were flowing over it has been suspended from service for endangering the lives of the passengers.
The incident comes just a week after 42 people died when a bridge at Mahad on the Mumbai-Goa highway in Raigad district was washed away, taking with it two state-owned buses and at least two cars.
The bus on its way to Surat in Gujarat broke down when the water suddenly rose and started flowing over the bridge. The passengers were stranded and had no way of getting off the bridge and there was no help in sight as it was around 5 am. One of the passengers then called up 100, the emergency police number.
After the SoS call, the police rushed to the spot and some local residents gathered after some time. As it was impossible to wade out to the bus, they drove an earthmover (JCB) on to the bridge and rescued the stranded.
The passengers blamed the driver for the incident saying that he had tried to cross the river even when the bridge was under water, which had led to the breakdown .
Taking serious note, MSRTC suspended the driver, Rakesh Dilip Sable, 32. “We have suspended the driver as he tried to rush the bus while the water was flowing over the river bridge,”said Ranjitsingh Deol, vice chairman and managing director of MSRTC.