At least 17 people were killed and 43 injured after a luxury bus from Satara to Mumbai rammed into a Swift and an Innova in Shedung in Panvel, the Mumbai-end of the expressway.The tragedy took place around 4.15 am on Sunday near Shivkar village, around 11 km from Panvel city in Raigad district. The deceased include eight women, six men and three children. The bus had started from Satara at 10 pm on Saturday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How did it happen?The bus rammed into the two stationary vehicles and went off the road to crash into a farm 15 feet below the highway, according to Sunil Bazare, senior police inspector, Panvel police station.Is the bus driver to be blamed?The exact reason is not known so far, though overspeeding cannot be ruled out, said Viswash Pandhare, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone II. However, passengers said that the driver was driving at high speed right from Satara. “He did not even care about speed breakers,” said one passenger.So, the Swift and Innova drivers were innocent?According to one police official, the parking light of the Swift was not working and the bus driver could have missed the car due to the cloudy weather.Picture Courtesy: AFP PhotoAnd what happened to the bus driver?The driver, identified as Iqbal Babulal Shaikh, (66), a resident of Satara, was also killed. Even by evening, police could identify around 13 deceased. “Families are coming and we hope that we will soon identify the remaining,” said Bazare.But what were the Swift and Innova doing there?The Swift had to stop as its tyres got punctured. The Innova stopped by to help those in the Swift. When they were busy changing tyres, the bus came from behind and hit the Innova first and then the Swift. Ashish Patil, who was driving the Innova, said the bus first dashed into the Swift and then his car.Did passengers in the two vehicles escape?Six people were travelling in the Innova. But only two of them were sitting inside when the accident happened. One got injured. Three persons were travelling in the Swift – a woman, a child and the driver. No one was injured as all three were outside.Who are the deceased identified?Vikas Mane (62), Kashinath Nikam (41), Chandrabhaga Chavan (50), Sandip Chavan, Ananya Kadam (3), Sandip Shivalkar, Vaijyanti Manohar Gujar, Shradha Kale, Avinash Hanumant Karande, Priya Kadam, Shradha Kale, Chatura Kadam, Vedika Yadav and Baba Iqbal Shaikh.What was the govt response?Eknath Shinde, minister of PWD and guardian minister of Thane, said that quick response vehicles (QRVs) were sent to the accident site. QRVs have a response time of 5-10 minutes. A QRV has five staffers and is equipped with gas cutters, a water tank, a towing crane, stretchers and power generators.
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