A tragic incident unfolded near Pune’s Navale Bridge, claiming the lives of four individuals and leaving two others injured as a truck collided with another vehicle, resulting in a devastating fire. The catastrophic event occurred at approximately 9:30 pm on Monday.
Upon receiving news of the accident, swift responses from the Pune City Police and Pune Fire Brigade commenced a rescue operation. Preliminary investigations conducted by the police indicate that a truck, laden with corn husk, collided with another vehicle and subsequently struck a container. The impact led to the truck’s cabin being crushed and engulfed in flames. Tragically, there were six people inside the cabin during the collision. One individual sustained injuries and was rescued, while four others, including two minors, tragically lost their lives, as confirmed by Devendra Potphode, Chief Fire Officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The rescue teams from the Pune and PMRDA fire brigades extricated the lifeless bodies from the blazing truck, and the victims were transported to a local hospital for identification. Preliminary reports suggest that the deceased may include the truck’s driver, an assertion now under investigation by Senior Police Inspector Abhay Mahajan.
The stretch of the Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway between Katraj and Narhe, the site of Monday night’s accident, has long been a hotspot for road mishaps. Heavy vehicles have been responsible for a significant number of accidents in this area due to human errors and structural issues related to the road infrastructure, as highlighted by the Pune City Traffic Police.
Specifically, two traffic jurisdictions, Bharti Vidyapeeth and Sinhagad Road traffic divisions, which oversee this highway segment, reported a total of 40 fatal accidents in 2022, resulting in 44 fatalities. The region encompasses two notorious accident-prone zones known as Navale Bridge and Selfie Point, where accidents have been alarmingly frequent, ranking them among the highest in Pune City.
Following the major accident last November on Navale Bridge, involving a truck that struck or brushed against around 48 vehicles, various government agencies announced a comprehensive plan to enhance safety along the Pune-Bangalore stretch between Katraj and Narhe. The plan comprises both short-term and long-term measures.
These initiatives encompass a gradual reduction in the speed limit for heavy vehicles, adjustments to the gradient of Navale Bridge, and improvements in the curvature of the highway bypass connecting the viaduct and Swami Narayan Temple. Furthermore, authorities have undertaken the installation of additional rumble strips and increased the number of reflectors. The proposal includes the painting of rumble strips every 400 meters, along with their regular maintenance in specific areas. The speed limit for heavy vehicles has been progressively reduced to 40 kilometers per hour and is being enforced with the deployment of additional speed guns in this area.
Suhail Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 3),said “The goods truck coming from Vita- Sangli and was on its way to Gujarat. It caught fire after colliding with another heavy vehicle on Pune-Mumbai highway stretch. Out of the six people in the truck which caught fire, two escaped with injuries, admitted to the local hospital; unfortunately four have reportedly succumbed to their injuries.