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Digital map leads man to drive car into dam waters; 2 swim to safety, 1 drowns

Travellers commuting into unknown areas using digital maps will have to be cautious next times as their ride could turn fatal
By Nadeem Inamdar, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 02:27 PM IST

Travellers commuting into unknown areas using digital maps will have to be cautious next times as their ride could turn fatal. Three Pimpri Chinchwad-based residents who had gone to visit Kalsubai peak in Akole tehsil of Ahmednagar district, drove straight into Pimpalgaon –Khand dam waters during the wee hours on January 9. Two of them swam to safety while the businessman, Satish Suresh Ghule (34), who was driving and had been navigating the way through a digital map application got stuck in the car. Ghule drowned as his car door did not open, when the vehicle sunk into the dam waters.

According to the police,the deceased and his two other friends -Guru Satyaraj Shekhar (42) and Sameer Rajurkar (44), were on their way to Kalsubai Hill station for trekking as part of their weekend activity when the tragedy struck. Ghule relied on the shortest route shown on the digital map between Kotul and Akole. The trio did not know the area well and were dependent on the digital map application for directions and proceeded accordingly. Their car ventured onto the Kotul-Akole road as per the right directions of the digital map, but the trio did not know that the said road for closed for vehicular traffic as the area was inundated with dam backwaters following monsoon. The car reached the bridge which was 20 feet submerged in water and since it was dark with no warning signs, the car sped ahead directly into the water, police said.

According to the police, before the trio could sense anything, the car drove straight into the dam waters. All three friends tried to save their lives by opening the doors of the car and swimming out of the water. Guru and Sameer managed to come out of the car, however, Ghule could not. The friends who survived, swam to safety and raised an alarm and alerted the villagers.

Local residents came to know about the accident at 8am and rushed to the spot. Relatives of the three friends also reached the spot. The car and dead body of Ghule has been recovered. The locals went in to search for the car and fished out Ghule’s body, including the car with the help of an earth mover. Meanwhile, Ghule’s post-mortem was completed at Kotul rural hospital where the body was handed over to family members who also reached the spot upon hearing the news.

Police inspector Abhay Parmar, incharge Akole police station, said, “The trio navigated through a digital map on GPS and it was around 1.30am. They did not realise that the road was closed. The public works department (PWD) should have shut the road permanently and there were no safety sign boards at the accident spot. We have lodged an accidental death related case in connection with the incident.”

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