Toll in Nashik bus-auto crash rises to 26
The death toll in Tuesday’s crash between an autorickshaw and a state transport (ST) bus in Nashik, causing both vehicles to fall into a 60-foot roadside well, rose to 26 on Wednesday, police said. The crash has claimed the lives of 12 women, 11 men and three children — a four-year-old girl, a two-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, police said.
The ST bus was plying from Malegaon to Deola, while the six-seater auto-rickshaw, carrying 10 passengers, was coming from the opposite side on the Deola-Malegaon Road near Meshi phata, close to Umarane village. Both drivers were killed in the crash, said police. Officials called off the 20-hour search operation at 11.15am on Wednesday. The body of the two-year-old was the last to be recovered.
“The place of accident is not a blackspot (accident-prone area) and although prima facie our inquiry revealed that the bus driver was speeding, we will wait for the Regional Transport Office report. We have formed two teams to record statements of the survivors,” said Sadashiv Waghmare, deputy superintendent of police, Kalwan. Most of the deceased were residents of Kalwan, Malegaon and Deola, said police. While the police have maintained that at least 32 people were injured, officers said victims were admitted to multiple hospitals and will be traced.
Waghmare said a case has been registered against the bus driver, PS Bachchav, who was in his early sixties.
Amid reports that a bus tyre had burst, officers investigating the case and RTO officers denied them. “There was no tyre burst. The bus was speeding,” said Uttam Jadhav, inspector at Nashik RTO. He said the RTO suspected that Bacchav may have not been keeping well, but will verify the same.