Navi Mumbai: Ten members of an extended family travelling in a Maruti Eeco lost their lives when their car collided with an approaching truck on the accident prone Mumbai-Goa Highway in the early hours of Thursday. The accident took place around 5 am at a small village called Repoli, in Mangaon taluka, Raigad district.
The family, who lived in various neighbourhoods of Mumbai, was on its way to their hometown in Ratnagiri to attend funeral rites of a relative. A speeding truck approaching from wrong side collided with the car, making such an impact that some of occupants of were thrown out of the vehicle. The only survivor of the accident was a four-year-old boy, who also died when he was being brought to J J Hospital, Mumbai. He breathed his last as the ambulance reached Pali.
Superintendent of police, Raigad, Somnath Charge, who visited the spot, said they started rescue operation after traffic on the road was cleared. Of the deceased, five are men, three women and two children. “There is ongoing road work on that stretch with diversions at every few metres. There was a diversion as well as signage at the accident spot, but the truck driver probably missed it and entered the road from the wrong side. We have booked the driver and arrested him and are investigating if there was a negligence on the part of the contractor who was in-charge of the ongoing road work,” said Charge.
Both vehicles were speeding before the collision, said police. The deceased have been identified as: Nilesh Chandrakant Pandit (40), his wife Nandini (45), daughter Mudra (12) and son Bhavya (4). Other relatives who lost their lives are Dinesh Raghunath Jadhav (30) from Malad, Kanchan Kashiram Shirke (55) from Wadala, Sneha Santosh Sawant (45) from Jogeshwari, Deepak Yashwant Lad (60) from Cotton Green, Amol Ramchandra Jadhav (42) and Nishant Shashikant Jadhav (23). Jadhav was driving the car.
The driver of the truck, identified as Amrut Shankar Khetri (46) from Ratnagiri, has been arrested for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and rash driving. He has been booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and Motor Vehicle Act.
“We have not been able to record the statements of relatives of the deceased yet, as we have yet to establish their relation to each other. There are various procedures to go through as well,” said a police officer from Goregaon police station, in Raigad. Goregaon shares its border with Mangaon taluka.
The work to make Mumbai–Goa Highway, or NH-66, a four lane highway has been going on since a decade and is expected to be completed by 2024.
The highway has claimed 1,512 lives in 6,692 accidents between 2012 and 2022, according to a statement issued by Maharashtra Public Works minister, Ravindra Chavan, in the state assembly in August 2022.