Maharashtra: A tourist bus carrying 34 staff of an agricultural university fell into a deep gorge off Ambenali Ghat in Raigad district of Maharashtra on Saturday killing 33 of them.
Only one person, Prakash Sawant Desai, miraculously survived with minor injuries as he jumped out of the bus. The accident took place near Poladpur, around 200 km from Mumbai.
All the passengers were from Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, an agricultural university at Dapoli in Ratnagiri district. They were going on a weekend picnic to Mahabaleshawar. They were crossing a sharp turn at Poladpur at around 11.30 am when the driver lost control and the bus fell into the gorge.
Desai jumped out of the bus and held onto tree branches as the bus was falling in the ravine. He somehow managed to climb to safety and alerted the university and police authorities of the accident.
Local rescuers, policemen from Poladpur station have rushed to the spot for rescue operations. A National Disaster Response Force team from Pune has been called in.
The Maharashtra government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of those who died. The government will also bear the medical expenses of those injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the death and offered condolences to the kin of the deceased.