Satara, Jan 14 (IANS): At least 40 people were injured when a tempo carrying them plunged into a 300-feet deep valley in the Mugdev village ghats of the Mahabaleshwar hills, police officials and rescuers said here on Saturday.
The tempo had left Pune on Friday evening with around 44 people comprising 17 women and 11 children, all hailing from Akola and Buldhana districts.
It was bound for a new work site at the Tapola resort near Mahabaleshwar hill station.
As per investigations, the tempo driver lost control of the vehicle and tumbled into the gorge, around 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Luckily, most of the 40 injured, including two pregnant women and around 11 children, sustained only minor injuries despite the deep plunge and many managed to jump out as the tempo rolled down.
On learning of the incident, several volunteers of Sahyadri Trekkers like Sanjay Parthe, Deepak Jadhav along with local villagers launched a rescue operation.
They climbed down with ropes and managed to bring a majority of the victims to safety even as Satara Police, fire-brigade and disaster teams rushed there.
Of the three kids injured, the condition of two was critical and they were shifted to a Satara hospital, while the status of two pregnant women is said to be stable.
According to the initial police probe, the tempo may have slid from the road while negotiating a steep curve, the driver lost control and the vehicle fell into the gorge.
The police are probing other angles like whether the tempo was overloaded by the labour contractor, whether the driver was inebriated and the road-worthiness of the vehicle for plying in the treacherous ghats.