Mumbai: At least 20 people were killed when a speeding state transport (ST) bus collided with an auto-rickshaw, causing both the vehicles to fall into a roadside well in Maharashtra’s Nashik district Tuesday, police said.
More than 18 people also suffered injuries in the accident which took place at around 4.00pm at Meshi Phata on the Malegaon-Deola Road in the North Maharashtra district, around 200km from this city, an official informed.
The speeding ST bus (MH06 S 8429), packed with passengers, crashed into the auto-rickshaw (MH15 DY 4233), he said, adding the injured were mostly bus passengers.
The impact of the collision was so severe that the bus dragged the auto-rickshaw along with it and both the vehicles fell into a roadside well, the official stated.
“At least 20 bodies have been pulled out of the well and injured are being treated at state-run hospitals,” Arti Singh, Superintendent of Police, Nashik Rural, informed. “We are drawing out water from the well with the help of pumps to check if more passengers are still stuck in the mud. The death toll may go up as some of the passengers are critical, she added.
The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC)-run bus was on its way to Kalwan town in Nashik from the adjoining Dhule district, while the auto-rickshaw was coming from opposite direction, another official said. A rescue operation with the help of police, fire brigade and local teams was on at the crash site. The bus has been pulled out of the well, police said.
Meanwhile, the MSRTC, in a release late in the evening, said the bus driver was prima facie responsible for the devastating crash. It was not yet known if the bus driver was among the deceased.
“It seems the bus driver, PS Bachhav, from Kalwan depot, was prima facie responsible for the accident,” said the MSRTC release.
Transport Minister and MSRTC chairman Anil Parab termed the accident as unfortunate and announced Rs 10 lakh compensation each to the kin of the deceased. He said the MSRTC will bear the entire cost of treatment of the injured people.