The number of casualties in the accident at Ghatkopar on Sunday, when a speeding truck ran over six persons and hit several vehicles and shops before coming to a halt, could have been much higher, say eyewitnesses and locals. Two persons, a senior citizen and a shopkeeper, were killed in the accident.
The incident occurred near Jalaram Temple in Bhatwadi, Ghatkopar (west), at around 12:45 pm.
Rama Mudyal, a resident of the area who witnessed the accident, said the area is very crowded on weekdays. “Since it was a Sunday, and some of the shops were shut, there were fewer people around,” he said.
Another local said that if the accident had taken place slightly further from the spot, the damage would have been higher as a market is located there.
Additionally, three persons seated in the auto, which the truck ran over and dragged for several metres, had gotten off minutes before. “Moments before the truck crushed the auto, they got off to have tea. They are lucky to be alive,” said Vinayak Chavan, owner of the Sai Samarth saloon, which the truck crashed into before finally coming to a halt.
Many locals, shopkeepers and visitors also had a narrow escape. Pedestrians began to run helter-skelter when they saw the speeding truck approaching, and many managed to get away just in time. “It looked like a train was hurtling towards us, crushing everything in its path,” said Mudyal.
Jameel Ahmed, employee of the saloon, also witnessed some close shaves.
“Two customers, a colleague and I heard the crash and saw the truck hitting the auto. Two persons standing outside the saloon were in the truck’s path. I pulled them inside the shop, else they would have been crushed between the truck and the shop,” Ahmed said.
Babu Ladate, son of Baliram, 55, a shop keeper in the area who died in the accident, told HT, “My father sells salt for a living. He was done with his work and was on his way back when he was run over by the truck.”
Seventy-year-old Maruti Rane, who was passing by at the time, was also killed.