Pune/ Satara: A bus with 33 passengers, on its way to Mahabaleshwar from Poladpur (Raigad district), fell into a gorge in Ambenali Ghat on Saturday morning. One of them survived while 32 passengers are feared dead in the mishap. Bodies of 14 persons had been recovered till late Saturday evening.
The bus was carrying 31 staff members of Konkan Agricultural University, Dapoli, the bus driver and conductor. It fell into a 800-feet deep gorge at Ambenali Ghat near Poladpur town, and was stuck at about 500 feet. Raigad SP Anil Paraskar said, “The passengers were on their way to Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in Satara district, for a two-day picnic, when the driver lost control over the vehicle and fell into the gorge.”
According to police, the incident came to light after survivor Prakash Sawant-Desai, Assistant Office Superintendent with the University, climbed up the slope after hours of effort and informed the police and university officials. Police called the trekkers groups from Mahad and Mahableshwar as well as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team based near Talegaon (Pune). A dozen ambulances and 15 doctors also reached the spot. The bodies were being taken to the government hospital in Poladpur for autopsies.
Police officials said that more than 40 persons were part of the trip, but some of them dropped their plans due to the capacity of the bus. They left the university in Dapoli at 6.30 am. The bus fell into the gorge at around 9 am near Dabhil pass and Desai survived as he was thrown out of the bus.
Out of 33 passengers, 25 have been identified as Rajendra Bandage, Hemant Surve, Sunil Kadam, Roshan Tabeeb, Sandeep Suware, Pramod Jadhav, Vinayak Sawant, Dattaram Dhaygude, Ratnakar Pagde, Pramod Shigwan, Santosh Jalgaonkar, Santosh Gimhaanekar, Rajendra Risbud, Sunil Satle, Pankaj Kadam, Nilesh Tambe, Santosh Zagade, Sandeep Bhosale, Vikrant Shinde, Sachin Gujar, Rajesh Sawant, Sachin Zagade, Ravikaran Salvi, Sanjeev Zagade and Suyash Bal.