Seven people have been declared dead and three injured after a Tata Sumo carrying them met with an accident today morning on the Kalamboli flyover.
"The driver, Dhanaji was sleeping while driving the car and he was warned by the co-passengers. They even halted for having tea two times on their way," said KT Vidhtae, senior police inspector of Kalamboli police station.
The incident took place at about 3.20am on Monday morning at the Vashi end of the Kalamboli flyover on Mumbai-Pune express way. The car was returning from Pune to Thane.
"The driver Dhanaji reportedly tried to overtake the other vehicle which was going ahead of them at a slow speed and hit it from the left side. All three people including Dhanaji, who were sitting on the right side of the vehicle survived, while others succumbed to their injuries," said another officer from Kalamboli police station.
The passengers who were returning from a wedding reception in Pune are residents of Thane and have been rushed to MGM Hospital in Vashi.
According to the police, Muznabin Shaikh (22) Chandrashekhar Namdhari (30) Chand Shaikh (54) and Zuber Shaikh (28) all vegetable sellers from Indira Nagar of Wagle Estate in Thane, Sachin Bengde, 30, a resident of Kopar Khairane and Suresh Kumawad (24) a resident of Indira Nagar, were returning from a wedding reception at Karad in Satara in a Sumo car on Sunday night.
On their way to Mumbai, the driver Dhanaji Lodle (21) a resident of Kopar Khairane picked up three more people near Karad bus depot as he had still some space in his vehicle. They were Satara-resident Tulshidas Chorge, Govandi-resident Santosh Dhotre and Chembur-resident Arjun Ghade (21).
They were about to cross the Kalamboli flyover, when their speeding car rammed into another heavy vehicle. Muznabin, Chandrashekhar, Chand, Zuber, Sachin, Tulshidas and Santosh suffered severe injuries and died on the spot. They were rushed to nearby MGM hospital in Kalambloi but were announced dead on arrival.
Suresh, Arjun and the driver Dhanaji suffered minor injuries in the accident. They were admitted to the same hospital and were discharged later.
"The group of six people had gone to Satara on Friday night for a wedding reception of Sachin's uncle, which was on Saturday. All of them had to resume work on Monday and hence they left for Mumbai around 8.30 pm on Sunday evening," said Vidhtae.
"Santosh and Arjun had gone there to attend the final rites of Arjun's aunty. They along with Tulshidas were waiting for bus at Karad bus depot to come to Mumbai and that was when they got this vehicle," he added.
The police have sent the bodies of the deceased to Panvel Gramin Rugnalay and are waiting for the reports.
Suresh Salunke, a relative of Tulshidas, said, "Tulshidas worked in Mumbai share market and he had gone to his home town to spend the weekend with his family. We rushed to the hospital around 6.30 am on Sunday after we got a call from Kalamboli police. We were then informed that he was no more."
"We have not found any trace of drink and driving in the accident. We have booked Lotle under sections 304 A, 297, 337, 338 of the Indian Penal Code and 184, 66 and 192 of Motor Vehicle Act. He will be presented before the judicial court on Tuesday morning," Vidhate said.
Photos by Nandu Kurne