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Search launched: Two buses with 22 persons missing in Maharashtra

Two buses with about 22 passengers were washed away early on Wednesday in flood waters after a bridge collapse on the Mumbai-Goa Highway

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Mumbai-Goa highway bridge collapse: Two buses with 22 persons missing. Image source: www.ibtimes.co.in
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Two buses with about 22 passengers were washed away early on Wednesday, August 3, in flood waters after a bridge collapse on the Mumbai-GoaHighway, an official said.

The state government, National Disaster Response Force, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) launched a massive air and sea operation to trace the two MaharashtraState Road Transport Corporation buses and other five to six missing vehicles which were feared to have been washed away by the floods in the Arabian Sea in the coastal Konkan region.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, ministers and Raigad collector Sheetal Ugale were monitoring the situation, the official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Mr Fadnavis and offered help in the rescue operations.

The ICG deployed a Chetak and SeaKing helicopters to search the buses. An NDRF team was on the way from Pune while the police and naval divers have launched a sea search.

Of the two ill-fated buses, the Jaigad-Mumbaiservice was driven by S. S. Kamble and conducted by V. K. Desai while the Rajapur-Borivali (north Mumbai) service was driven by E. S. Munde and conducted by P. B. Shirke, all based with the Chiplun Bus Depot in Ratnagiri.

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The tragedy struck after heavy rains flooded the Savitri River which originates in Mahabaleshwar and flows through Ratnagiri-Raigad districts, leading to the collapse of a seven-decades-old British era bridge near Mahad around 1 a.m.

Image by thehindu.com
Image by thehindu.com

The buses with 11 passengers each went missing and there was no contact with either their drivers or the passengers, Raigad Collector Sheetal Ugale said.

Locals said that around five to six private vehicles were also missing and they were feared to be washed away in the floods.

“The bridge was built during the British era. After discussion with the National Highways Authority, we have shifted traffic to the new parallel bridge nearby. We are trying to confirm reports of other missing vehicles,” Ugale said.

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Rehabilitation Minister Chandrakant Patil said helicopters would be deployed and the help of defence forces was being taken to search the missing vehicles.

Incessant rains continue to lash the coastal Konkan, northern and western Maharashtra since past five days, with at least 10 persons losing their lives in rain-related incidents in the past 24 hours. (IANS)

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Monsoon Road Trips from Mumbai

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel

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Here are some top recommendations for your next best road trip in this season of Monsoon. Pixabay

The floods in Mumbai have been in the news lately, an annual chaos that seems to have become part and parcel of life in the country’s financial capital. However, the monsoons are not a season to dread and just outside the city, as the curious traveller ventures higher into the Western Ghats, there are some picture-perfect destinations for the season. Here are some top recommendations.

Lonavala
Lonavala would be on top of the monsoon destination list for most Mumbaikars. Wrapped in fog, this historic region gains a completely new avatar in the rains as the forested mountain slopes regenerate and the waterfalls come to life. One of these is Kune Falls, which roars amidst a pristine verdant scenery.

The Lohagad Fort has always been one of the most captivating sites on this route and the monsoon mist gives it an allure straight of a medieval-theme video game or movie. A trek to Liones Point is recommended – the season would require special precautions like monsoon-ready footwear and waterproof clothing. While in Lonavala town, a visit to the lake is not a bad idea.

Khandala
Just next to Lonavala, one can reach the quaint hill town of Khandala, perched at close to 2000 feet above sea level. The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make this place an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro, not to mention the splendorous drive on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Some of the popular viewpoints here are the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point. Other attractions here include the Buddhist cave temples at Karla and the calm and placid Bhushi Lake.

khandala
The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make Khandala an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro.

Mahabaleshwar
A jewel tucked in the lap of the mighty Sahyadari Mountains; Mahabaleshwar offers visitors a curious mix of colonial heritage and striking Indian history. Built by Shivaji, Pratapgad Fort has an enigmatic presence in the landscape here, a site of many important events.

Those looking to enjoy some of the high elevations will love a trek to the summit of Wilson Point, famous for its panoramic views of the valley below. The Needle Hole Point is another famous place to catch a glimpse of the scenic landscapes. Venna Lake is another centrepiece attraction at Mahabaleshwar while the hilltop Krishnabai Temple is famous for its architecture and Krishna statue.

More and more travellers are choosing a car rental over public transport. Rates are increasingly affordable and self drive gives total control over the pace of the journey. One can make impromptu stops and detours and there is complete privacy.

Finding a car rental in Mumbai is as simple as a few taps on an app. With platforms like Zoomcar, registered users can book a vehicle in a matter of minutes. One can choose from a wide range of cars – maybe a hatchback or sedan for the family getaway – or maybe a large SUV for the boisterous group road trip. 24/7 on-road support is one of the assurances that self drive rentals offer.

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel.