MUMBAI: Only one passenger had a providential escape when a bus carrying 34 staff of an agriculture university rolled down into a deep gorge near Poladupr in Maharashtra's Raigad district, about 100 km from Mumbai, on Saturday.
Pained by the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Maharashtra's Raigad district. My condolences to those who lost their loved ones: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 28, 2018
NDRF teams from Pune reached the accident spot and 12 bodies were extricated till the operation was suspended due to fog and rains. Officials said there were almost no chances of other survivors given the intensity of the accident. Loose boulders made it difficult for the rescuers and locals to recover the bodies. All the passengers were employees of Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Agricultural University (KKV), Dapoli in Ratnagiri district. The KKV staff were enjoying an extended weekend and on their way to Mahabaleshwar on a two-day trip when the accident took place at around noon.
I'm sorry to hear about the terrible bus accident in Raigad, Maharashtra in which a large number of people have been killed and many others injured. I appeal to Congress party workers in the area to provide all possible assistance to the injured & families of those who have died.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 28, 2018
From Poladpur on the Mumbai-Goa highway, a road goes towards the hill station of Mahabaleshwar via Ambenali Ghat. The bus plunged into the gorge at Ambenali Ghat around 15 km away from Poladpur, the police said. KKV office superintendent Prakash Sawant-Desai somehow climbed up the gorge and contacted his colleagues, friends over mobile to inform them about the tragedy. “I was thrown out of the window and survived as I landed on a tree. I somehow climbed up to the road and called my colleagues and friends when I got mobile connectivity," Prakash said. “The driver turned his head back resulting int the accident." Prakash is recuperating at a Poladpur hospital. Raigad district collector Vijay Suryawanshi said the casualties could have been higher as about 40 had registered for the trip. President Ram Nath Kovind and other leaders expressed condolence after the news of the tragedy spread. The Maharashtra government announced an ex gratia of `4 lakh for the kin of the deceased. CM Devendra Fadnavis assured the tragedy-hit families of a thorough probe. Minister Sadabhau Khot visited the spot to oversee the rescue operations, he added.