Bus carrying university staff plunges into gorge in Raigad, killing 33

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Pune, July 28: As many as 33 persons were killed after a bus fell into a gorge in Ambenali Ghat near Poladpur town in Raigad district around Saturday noon. Only one of the 34 passengers traveling in the bus survived as he jumped from the bus while it was sliding along the steep slope of the gorge.

The passengers in the bus, all employees of Dapoli Agriculture University in Ratnagiri district, were on their way to Mahabaleshwar for a two-day trip. The incident came to light after the lone survivor, Prakash Sawant Desai, assistant superintendent with the University, who managed to jump out of the bus, climbed up the slope, took the phone of a passerby and made calls to police another staff member from university and the police.

Desai has told the local authorities that the driver of the bus lost control as a tyre of the bus skidded at a muddy spot on the Ambenali Ghat road. The bus fell till 500 feet down in the 800 feet deep gorge.

The bus skidded off the road near Ambenali ghat before falling into a deep gorge.

After local police were informed by Desai, local administration and team from nearby police stations swung into action. Members of local trekkers’ groups and medical aid team were also called in.

Police officials said that the valley is 300 feet deep.

Assistant inspector Kundan Gawade, PRO with Raigad police said, “Till 4 pm, 25 dead bodies were taken out. As per primary information, 33 passengers in the bus are feared dead.” A team of the National Disaster Response Force, station at Talegaon near Pune was sent to the spot for the search operation.

Local police have informed the authorities from the Dapoli Agriculture University, who in turn have informed the family members of the victims. Police have come to know that more than 40 persons were be part of the trip, but the number was reduced due to the capacity of bus.

Taking to Twitter, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Pained to know about the loss of lives in the Mahabaleshwar bus accident. The administration is taking all efforts to provide required assistance. Senior officials and emergency management systems in place. My thoughts are with families who lost loved ones and prayers for speedy recovery of injured.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi also offered their condolences to the bereaved families of those who lost their lives.

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