Two people have been confirmed dead, while twenty two more are missing when the buses on Bridge over river Savitri got washed on Tuesday night on Mumbai-Goa Highway, in Maharashtra. The bridge on which the buses were running suddenly had collapsed in heavy rains.
The British era bridge linking Mahad and Poladpur which was built on river Savitri, collapsed unexpectedly on Tuesday night, around 11.30 pm, due to heavy rains. Two buses and its 18 passengers and four crew which were on the fated bridge at the time of incident got washed away in the swollen river. So far the Rescue workers have fished out two bodies as the search has been intensified to trace the missing.
Reportedly Chetak helicopter and a Sea King 42C all-weather aircraft along with a diving team have been pressed into service by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) even as yet another Sea King 42B helicopter has been diverted to the area of tragedy by ICG. Apart from this two 40 member National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) contingents are working relentlessly in Mahad to trace and save the victims. Meanwhile the highway authorities are diverting the Mumbai – Goa highway traffic via via Mangaon and two other routes.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stated on the social media that the two buses belonging to State Transport carrying 18 passengers and four crew were washed away as the thee bridge collapsed into the river. He also informed that the State is keeping a close watch on the rescue operations. He tweeted, “There were two parallel bridges; one is a new bridge and one constructed during the British era. The old one collapsed. “The primary reason seems to be the high pressure caused due to flooding of river Savitri due to heavy rains in catchment of Mahabaleshwar.” “Spoke to Raigad SP and Collector about bridge collapse on Mumbai-Goa Highway. Administration has rushed to spot for rescue and immediate measures…Traffic on highway is stopped. Administration is ascertaining strength and stability of new bridge,” he went to add.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has contacted the Maharashtra Chief Minister to take the stock of the situation. Expressing his grief and shock at the tragedy, Mr. Modi has offered all the support needed in the rescue operations. The CM informed, “The PM offered all help in rescue and relief operations.” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too expressed his condolences and assured that the Center will extend all necessary support.
After visiting the tragedy site the Raigad SP Suvez Haque and Collector stated that the darkness and the bad weather is slowing down the rescue and search operations. Yet, the NDRF personnel are combing 100 to 200 meters of the area around the bridge for the survivors and dead bodies. One of the NDRF personnel said, “As soon we got information about the tragic incident, we dispatched two teams from Pune and two teams from Mumbai who are searching for missing persons in the swollen river.” Giving further details he said, “We have kept two teams in Mumbai and two teams in Pune in stand-by mode, and they would be roped in as and when needed. Our team of special divers is equipped enough to handle the situation as with the help of oxygen masks, they can go deep up to 10 metres down and can stay there for long.”
Siddheshwar Telugu, the Chief PRO of Konkan Railway too has rushed to the accident spot. After visiting the site he said, “Konkan Railway is providing men and material inclusive of self-propelled accident relief medical van (SPARMV), accident relief train (ART), doctor and medical team, mechanical rescue team and engineering rescue team.”
Laxmikant Parsekar , the Chief Minister of Goa too has visited the site. in his speech in the state Legislative Assembly Parsekar said that the investigations are going on to know whether any Goans have been in the accident. He stated, “On Goa-Mumbai road at Mahad a few vehicles have gone down the bridge which collapsed. I have asked Goa DGP to check whether fatalities include Goans.” “Till now there is no information about the Goans involved in the accident. Government has kept a constant watch. We are in constant touch. We will do whatever is required,” he added.
Citing that the Mahad Bridge tragedy is a “wake up call” for all, Goa’s Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza informed media that the State plans to probe the durability and strength of all the Portuguese-era bridges in Goa. He said, “There is a need to audit the strength of existing Goan bridges and roads. Most of the existing bridges were built during Portuguese time and they are still in use.” “Once the audit is done we can also decide where we have to create new infrastructure,” D’Souza added.
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