Monday, May 17, 2010

Alert bus conductor saved 44 lives

Alertness shown by a woman bus conductor saved the lives of 44 passengers on the MSRTC’s King Long bus, which caught fire on Airoli bridge on Saturday night.
As the bus was speeding down the round around 8.30 pm, conductor Sheetal Chimote saw smoke coming out of the rear of the vehicle and she signalled the driver, Riyaz Shaikh, to stop. “She yelled and the driver brought the bus to a screeching halt,’’ said an MSRTC official. “She then rushed all passengers out and at the same time, ensured that their luggage was taken out of the hold. Asking the passengers to stand at a distance, Shaikh went to the back to inspect what exactly had happened and found out that the bus had caught fire.’’ Within minutes, the entire bus was engulfed in flames.
“Had the conductor delayed for a few more minutes, the passengers would have been charred to death. We really appreciate her presence of mind when she noticed the smoke,’’ a senior MSRTC officer said, adding that the department planned to felicitate Chimote.
The Airoli police, who are inquiring into the accident, have taken down Chimote’s statement. According to her, the bus had left Pune depot at 4.30 pm and was scheduled to reach Thane by 9 pm. “Almost all the passengers were supposed to get down at the last stop,’’ Chimote said.
The MSRTC, too, has deployed its technical team to ascertain the cause of the fire. Preliminary inquiry revealed that short circuit had caused the blaze, but a final report will be presented before MSRTC vice-chairman and managing director Deepak Kapoor in a couple of days.
Following the incident, Kapoor ordered withdrawal of all 15 King Long buses from the road. However, because of the passenger rush on Sunday morning due to Akshaya Tritaya, the MSRTC ran a few of the vehicles to ferry commuters between Pune and Mumbai. “The buses were running packed on Sunday and passengers had reserved seats well in advance. But from Monday, we will not run King Longs anymore,’’ Kapoor said. He stated that the corporation would replace those buses with 10 brand new semi-luxury buses, which were procured from Goa recently.
“Those who have reserved seats on King Long buses for the next few weeks can travel by the new semiluxury buses. They will get a refund on the difference in fares and those wanting to cancel tickets can claim a full refund,’’ he said. Of the 15 King Longs, seven operated between Thane and Pune, while the remaining eight were on the Dadar-Pune route. The corporation recently bought 25 new semi-luxury buses from Goa of which 10 have replaced the King Longs.


  1. "The corporation recently bought 25 new semi-luxury buses from Goa" Are these Tata buses?

  2. @Ajinkya
    Avoid putting accidents images or any kind of defaming images or news on the blog.