Bus management ‘mess up’ after Chiplun mishap

He was extremely lucky to have survived the Goa bus mishap at Chiplun in the wee hours of Tuesday, but a young sailor from Porvorim was critical of the bus representatives for badly managing the situation after the mishap.

Two of the four passengers who died in the mishap were seated behind and to the right of Aaron D’Silva, who was among the 40-odd passengers in the ill-fated inter-state bus proceeding to Mumbai.

Narrating the sequence of events, D’Silva recalled that the mishap took place shortly after the bus stopped for a short break at 3.30 am in Chiplun.

“The driver, cleaner and a passenger, who was to disembark, were in the cabin, while the second driver was resting. The bus then proceeded along the NH17 and within 15 minutes, the driver lost control of the speeding bus at a sharp turn near Savordia village. The bus veered off the road and struck trees before falling into a pit,” said D‘Silva.

He said the impact jolted all passengers, most of whom were fast asleep.

“Passengers on the right were flung towards passengers from the left and some fell out of the bus. The situation was horrific as four passengers lost their lives on the spot, while two others were seriously injured. About 19 others were hospitalised,” said D’Silva.

“One passenger to my right and another behind me died in the mishap. I was extremely lucky to have survived,” recalled D’Silva.

He added that people from passing vehicles helped removing the remaining passengers from the bus. An emergency ambulance service arrived half an hour later and took the critically wounded passengers to a nearby hospital.

“Another inter-state bus of the company passed by within a few minutes after the accident before any emergency services had arrived, but the bus did not slow down and did not have the courtesy to offer assistance of any kind,” D’Silva added.

A crane was later pressed into service to lift the bus and to enable passengers to access their luggage from the storage compartment of the vehicle.

“The passengers went to the nearby police station, filed their reports and identified luggage stored in the bus, before returning to the site of the accident,” said D’Silva.

He added that the police and the bus representatives were involved in wasting time, thereby preventing passengers from collecting their own baggage.

“The police made people give statements multiple times yet did not move forward with any action. The bus representatives offered no help to the passengers nor did they provide any alternate transport to Goa, which was 350 kms away from the accident site.”

“Passengers lost their patience and threatened to break open the bus storage compartment, when authorities finally relented and opened the luggage compartment,” D’Silva said.

“Fortunately, a Good Samaritan, Floyd Braganza, hired a taxi from Goa and arrived at the accident site. He allowed us to return home safely,” added D’Silva. [H]