Two-year-old survives Audi-dumper crash in Delhi that killed his parents, grandmother
When Sonu saw a dumper truck topple on top of an Audi in outer Delhi’s Rohini in the early hours of Wednesday, he didn’t believe that there would be any survivors in the car. An hour later though, he believes he witnessed a “miracle”.
The three adult occupants of the car were crushed to death, but a two-year-old child was rescued with minor injuries. “Hundreds of us had gathered at the spot, but we were helpless. There was no way we could have pulled anyone out of the car. The truck and the soil it was carrying were too heavy for us,” said Sonu, who sleeps on the roadside and sells black salt on a cart.
“We thought all inside the car were dead, but then, we heard the cries of a child and we were desperate to help the child,” Sonu said.
According to Anurag (goes by a single name), a friend of the Singhal family that was involved in the mishap, a crane arrived about an hour later. The truck was removed and the car’s occupants were taken out of the mangled remains of the vehicle. “Only the child was alive. The others looked dead,” Anurag said.
Anurag happened to be at the spot as he was among several residents from the neighbourhood in Rohini Sector 15 who were returning from a wedding in Gurugram. “We were in Gurugram to attend the wedding of the daughter of our former neighbour, Rajesh Goyal. The Singhal family was among the attendees,” Anurag said.
Anurag reached the accident spot just moments after the mishap. “The child survived because he was sleeping on the rear seat. The car’s roof probably did not crush him,” Anurag said.
The child’s parents, Sumit Singhal and Ruchi Singhal, got married over three years ago. They lived with Sumit’s parents and his younger sister in their five-storey home in Rohini Sector 15. The family had rented out some floors, and also had a thriving pulses processing unit in Bawana.
As most of the soil being carried by the dumper had landed on the road and the Audi, police said they are not in a position to determine if the “offending vehicle” was overloaded.
But investigators said it was possible that the dumper was overloaded. “The truck must have been going at a high speed, and the load it was carrying may have caused it to topple over,” a senior police officer said.
According to data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the menace of overloading in goods vehicles has resulted in 817 mishaps and cost 141 lives in Delhi between 2015 and 2017.
At the national level, overloading has been cited as the trigger for 1,94,153 mishaps and 67,349 deaths in the three years between 2015 and 2017. In that period, these mishaps accounted for anywhere between 11.9% and 15.4% of all accidents in India. In terms of deaths, overloading accounted for around 15% of all fatalities.
Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police (Delhi traffic police), said his personnel cannot prosecute goods vehicles for overloading. “We do not have the facility for weighing trucks and their goods because of which we cannot determine if they are overloaded,” the JCP said.