A truck carrying around 300 LPG cylinders caught fire near Pen on the Mumbai-Goa highway after it collided with another truck, on Sunday morning. The road was shut for almost four hours after the accident.
According to the police, the truck, loaded with the cylinders, was on its way to Mumbai from Alibaug. As it was crossing Amrapur Phata around 5.15am, another truck loaded with iron rods, which was going towards Goa, crashed into it.
“The truck carrying the cylinders lost balance after the incident and toppled on the road just a few metres away from the spot. It caught fire soon after the cylinders started exploding one after another,” said Suvez Haque, superintendent of police, Raigad district.
The fire brigade officials as well as the local police reached the spot and cordoned off the area. They rescued the driver, Naushad Ahmed, 40, and recovered nearly 70 cylinders before they caught fire. “Ahmed suffered 40% burns in the accident and was rushed to a nearby hospital in Pen. Later, he was shifted to another hospital in Mumbai,” said Prashant Deshpande, deputy SP.
“The other truck also toppled over a few yards from the spot. Its driver then fled. We are now searching for him,” he said. The police started diverting vehicles headed towards Goa via Pali and Khopoli, almost one-and-a-half hours after the accident. Vehicles coming towards Mumbai were diverted via Khalapur and the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
“The fire brigade officials took more than three hours to extinguish the massive fire. It took us some more time to clear the debris and the road was reopened for vehicles after that,” said another officer from Pen police station.