7 children among 13 killed as minibus plunges into Maha river

MUMBAI/PUNE, Jan 27: Thirteen persons, including seven children, were killed when a minibus fell into the Panchganga river near Kolhapur in western Maharashtra, police said today.
The incident took place around 11.45 pm yesterday just outside the Kolhapur city.
The bus was carrying members of Kedari family from Balewadi near Pune city and Nangre and Warkhade families from Pirangut in Pune district, a police officer said.
Sixteen members of three families, related to each other, were returning from Ganpatipule, a pilgrimage and beach town in Ratnagiri district, police said.
The deceased include three men, three women and seven children, including a nine-month-old baby, the officer said.
The driver of the minibus was among the deceased.
“The speeding minibus was on the Shivaji Bridge on the Panchganga when the driver lost control over the vehicle and it fell into the river after breaking the railings of the bridge,” Kolhapur Additional Superintendent of Police Tirupati Kakde told PTI.
Police and fire brigade teams rushed to the spot after an onlooker alerted the Kolhapur Police.
Rescue and search operations were called off around 7 am, he said.
According to victims’ relatives, they were going to halt in Kolhapur for the night.
As the news came, a pall of gloom descended on Balewadi area on the outskirts of Pune where the Kedaris — who lost seven members of the family — live.
Three persons who sustained injuries were admitted to a Pune hospital this afternoon, while the bodies of the deceased were handed over to relatives after autopsy, a senior police official said.
Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of ech the deceased.
The accident last night follows another tragic incident in Kolhapur district last morning where six people, including three of a family, headed for a picnic on Republic Day holiday, were killed when their car rammed into a tree near Shahuwadi. (PTI)