30 bodies recovered, search ops called off

30 bodies recovered, search ops called off

A view of the deep gorge at Poladpur in the Raigad district of Maharashtra.

A total of 30 bodies have been retrieved from a gorge in Ambenali Ghat in Poladpur in Raigad district of Maharashtra.

The search and rescue operations were called off on Sunday evening after all the bodies were accounted for.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the campus of the Dr Balasaheb Sawant Agriculture University at Dapoli in the neighboring Ratnagiri district as bodies were being brought.  

The employees — mainly clerical staff — of the university were going for their annual weekend picnic in the hill station of Mahabaleshwar in Satara district.

Among the 30 who died include 29 staffers of the university and the driver of the ill-fated bus, the Raigad police on Sunday said after the nearly 36 hours operations concluded.  

On Saturday, reports have said that 33 people died in the accident.

One employee, Prakash Sawant-Desai (55), miraculously escaped as because of the impact he was thrown out of the bus when it was crashing and held onto the ground.

Another employee, Pravin Randive, skipped the trip at the last moment because of ill health.

“All the bodies have been handed over to the families after completion of formalities,” officials of the Raigad police said.

“The Poladpur police station has registered a case and investigations were in progress,” said Raigad Superintendent of Police Anil Paraskar.

According to Sawant-Desai, the lone survivor, the bus skidded when the tyre went over loose mud at the edge of the road.

The accident site is nearly 180 kms off downtown Mumbai.

The bus has crashed into a 600-foot-deep valley and the rescue operations included teams from the Raigad police and disaster management units, a team of National Disaster Response Force from Pune and several teams of trekkers from Raigad, Satara and Kolhapur districts.

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