7 persons were killed and 3 injured following an accident in the wee hours of Monday, on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. The victims heading to Wagle Estate in Thane, were returning after attending a friend's marriage in Karad.
The accident occurred at around 3.20am at the fag end of the expressway, where vehicles connect to the Sion-Panvel highway at Kalamboli.
According to senior police inspector of Kalamboli police station KT Vidhate, "The Tata Sumo driver hit an unidentified vehicle, which could have been a heavy vehicle like a trailer or tanker."
"Seven people who were sitting on the left side of the vehicle were killed on the spot. The injured, including the driver were rushed to MGM hospital in Kamothe. They are all out of danger," said Vidhate.
Stating that the driver was not drunk, Vidhate informed, "The survivors have told us that he had been feeling very sleepy and that they had warned him to drive carefully. They had even stopped twice for tea so that he could get over his sleep."
The deceased are Shaikh Muznabin (22), Shaikh Zuber (28), Shaikh Chand (54), Chandrashekhar, all vegetable retailers residing in Indiranagar of Wagle Estate in Thane, Sachin Belge and Tulsidas Chorge. One victim is yet to be unidentified.
The injured are Mangi Lodle, the driver, Arjun Dhare of Chembur and Suresh Kumavat of Indira Nagar.
The Sumo vehicle which was completely mangled had the luggage and shoes of the victims. The intensity of the impact could be gauged from the fact that the wheels of the vehicle had come off completely.
The relatives and friends of the victims, who rushed to the hospital following the news of accident from the police, were inconsolable.
In a daze was Shaikh Mobin, who lost his son Muznabin, son-in-law Zuber and a cousin Chand in the accident. "They had left home on Thursday at around 9.30pm, to Karad for the wedding of a friend's brother. The wedding took place on Saturday and they began their journey back on Sunday night," said Mobin.
"I don't know what to tell my family. My 25-year-old daughter has become a widow. She has two sons, one is 7 months old and the other 3 years old. My son wasn't married. My cousin too has a big family. All three are gone. Everything is over for our family," said Mobin.
A teary eyed Melaram whose son Suresh was injured said, "I got a call from his mobile phone informing me of the accident. When I rushed here I learnt that he had injuries on chest. He was in a lot of pain."
"The doctors are saying that his life is not in danger, but I am worried. I am shifting him to a hospital in Thane," added Melaram.