At least 18 people were killed and 14 injured when a truck, traveling from the Bijapur district in the southern state of Karnataka to Satara in the western state of Maharashtra, crashed into a barricade on the Pune-Satara highway, Tuesday, April 10 morning.
The truck hit the barricade around 4.30 am Tuesday and overturned, the Press Trust of India quoted Satara's Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil as saying.
Most of the deceased who lost their lives in the mishap are said to be construction workers from Karnataka along with several children. The injured have reportedly been admitted to a hospital in Khandala and are undergoing treatment.
While the exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained, the driver is suspected to have lost control of the truck.
"We suspect the driver was speeding and lost control as he was on a curved slope on this S- shaped patch of the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway," Assistant Inspector Yuvraj Hande of Pargaon-Khandala police station told The Indian Express.
However, some officials also believe that the driver was sleep-deprived and wasn't able to concentrate on the road. He had reportedly been driving for several hours.
Speaking to DNA, Patil also said that the truck was loaded with construction material, which fell on the laborers when the truck hit the barricade and overturned. "Many of them sustained head injuries and died," Patil said.
The bodies have now been sent for autopsy and the identification process is under way.
This is not the first accident on the highway. In 2014, a luxury bus had overturned at the same spot and about 10 passengers had been killed in the mishap, reported DNA. Later nine people lost their lives when a driver lost control of a container and it fell on an SUV.