At least 17 people including an infant were killed and some 33 others were injured when a bus rammed into two cars on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
The dead include an infant and a woman.
The accident occurred near Shendug curve on the Pune-Mumbai arm of the expressway at 5.30 am. The speeding bus hit the two cars before falling into ditch, 20-feet below The bus was plying from Satara to Mumbai.
According to reports a Maruti Swift Desire had parked on the side of the expressway to replace a flat tyre. An Innova car had stopped by asking if theyrequired any assistance. The bus collided with the cars and fell into the ditch, pushing the mangled Innova also along with.
Police said that the bus driver may not have seen the tail-lights of the cars on the cloudy morning.
The injured were rushed to MGM hospital Kamothe and Ashtavinayak Hospital. The death toll could rise, rescue workers said.
Commissioned in 2002, the six lane Mumbai Pune e-way reduced distance between financial hub Mumbai and Pune by about two hours. But the 95 km stretch is a death trap and 1758 deaths were reported in the first 10 years of operations.
A new government initiative is underway to bring down the average annual fatality which now stands at 130 deaths per year.