Three of Panvel family killed as car falls into stream at Ratnagiri
Three of a family from Panvel were killed after the car they were travelling in plunged into a stream at Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri, around 300km from Mumbai, on Wednesday. The accident occurred on the Mumbai-Goa highway around 11.30am, when the front right tyre of the Innova burst after hitting a pothole and the car flipped and fell into the stream adjoining the road as the driver lost control.
The victims were identified as Pramila Padmakar, 62; her daughter Rutuja Patane, 34; and grandson Piyush Patane, 12. The driver, Nitin Waghmare, 35, had a miraculous escape as he managed to get out of the vehicle and hold onto a tree branch in the middle of the stream.
The victims were returning to Panvel after attending a family function at Lanja in Ratnagiri.
“It has been raining heavily and the water level in the stream was high. The vehicle flipped and fell into the stream,” Pranay Ashok, superintendent of police, Ratnagiri, told Hindustan Times. “They had come to Rutuja’s maternal place and were returning to Panvel where her husband is a developer. The driver has told us that after the tyre burst, the vehicle suddenly veered off the road, flipped and fell into the stream.”
According to Ashok, the gushing water swept away the car within seconds and while the driver managed to get out, the family were unable to escape. Locals from the nearby Dhamni village rushed to the accident spot and formed a human chain to rescue the driver.
After almost a six-hour search operation, personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Coast Guard and police managed to trace the car with help from locals. The family was found trapped inside and their bodies were fished out.
Volunteers of the Raju Kakade Help Academy in Devrukh, a group of around 100 volunteers that helps people caught in distress, helped the rescue teams. “The driver told us that he tried to save the boy, but was unable to hold him and the car was swept away,” said Yuyutsu Arte, advisor of the academy. “Pramila’s son was also to come to Panvel along with them, but his wife told him to stay back on the occasion of Vat Purnima (Hindu festival performed by married women for well-being of their husbands),” said Arte.
The police said preliminary investigation has pointed towards lapses on part of the driver and they are likely to register a case against him under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304 A (causing death by negligence).