Raigad bus accident: When a WhatsApp group fell silent
Mumbai: Pravin Randive was supposed to join his colleagues at Dapoli agriculture university when they set out for week-end picnic at Mahabaleshwar this morning.
He could not join them as he was not well, but kept checking a WhatsApp group where others were posting updates.
Then suddenly there was silence in the group. Around 12.30 PM, he learnt that the bus carrying his colleagues had fallen into a gorge off Ambenali ghat near Poladpur, 180 km from here.
Of the 34 people in the bus, all but one died.
“The last message came around 9.30am. They were supposed to stop for breakfast.
“We were going to leave at 6.30 AM. But when they called me I said I can not make it because I am not well,” Randive told reporters.
His colleagues kept posting pictures of scenery along the route on the WhatsApp group.
“The last message came around 9.30am. They were supposed to stop for breakfast.bWhen I messaged later, there was no response. We came to know about the accident around 12.30 PM,” he said.
All those who died were in the age group of 30-45 years and some of them were unmarried, Randive said.
The only one to survive was Prakash Sawant.
Speaking to reporters in Poladpur, Sawant said mud and loose stones on this stretch of the ghat road caused the bus tyres to skid.
“The bus veered to the left and fell into the gorge before we could understand what was happening. Trees arrested the fall someway down. I had managed to jump out in time. I climbed my way up somehow,” he said.
When he reached the road, he saw a crowd of people.
“One of them gave me a mobile phone. I called up the police control room and informed them,” he said.
Originally, 40 people were supposed to join the trip to Mahabaleshwar, the famous hill station town in Western Maharashtra, but some of them opted out at the last moment because the bus was small and there was no space, he said.