Early on Sunday morning, a highway accident in Raigad on the Mumbai-Goa Highway (NH 17) snatched away the sole breadwinners of five families in Mumbai.
Of the five men who died when the Indica car they were travelling in collided head-on with an ST bus, three were from Mulund. The remaining two were from Bhandup and Kalachowki.
According to the police, a motorist who was moving along the route witnessed the accident and informed a mobile police van which was stationed at Wadkhal naka, not very far from the spot.
“The policemen immediately rushed to the spot and took the injured occupants of the car to the Pen Government hospital, eight kilometres away, where they were declared dead on admission. All of them had suffered serious injuries on their heads,” said Narnawar.
Police said the driver of the ST bus, identified as Ashish Dabke has been arrested and booked for rash and negligent driving. After a post mortem was conducted at Pen Government Hospital on the Alibaug-Goa road, the bodies were handed over to their respective families.
The weekend trip was planned by Ravindra Lad, 42, who was employed at the Mulund toll naka. He and his friends were headed for his village in Malwan, where he was to oversee the construction of his house and meet his aged mother.
Initially, just Lad and the driver, Dinesh Patil, also a resident of Mulund, were scheduled to go on the trip. However, three others joined them later.
Vitthal Desai, a relative of Lad, said: “Ravindra used to make a weekend trip to his native place every month. This time, he invited his friend Ravindra Shivalkar to join him. A common friend of the duo, Anil Sawant, decided to go too.”
“The trio contacted their friend Dinesh Patil, 26, a driver, who invited his cousin brother Suresh Patil, 29, as there was one more seat available in the car,” said Mukesh Patil, 26, a cousin of the duo.
Dinesh is survived by his wife and two daughters, aged one and three. “Dinesh’s wife is pregnant. We have not informed her about the deaths. We have only told her that there has been an accident,” said Mukesh.
Lad is survived by his wife and 12-year-old son, while Shivalkar, who was employed with a Bhandup hospital, is survived by his wife, son and daughter.
Meanwhile, in Kalachowki, the family members of Amol Sawant gathered together to console his wife and two children — a 12-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
Vandana Ambre, 32, Sawant’s sister, who the police called to inform about the accident, said: “I had given my mobile number to Amol five years ago, and not once did I receive a call from him. The first time I got a call from his cell phone, was at 5am on Sunday with a policeman on the line saying that he had passed away.”