Seventeen workers were killed and three injured as a crane fell on a bridge slab during construction of the third phase of Samruddhi Expressway in Maharashtra's Thane district on Tuesday, an official said.
A few persons are still feared trapped and efforts are on to rescue them, an NDRF official said.
Three persons were injured in the incident and they were being treated at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital at Kalva in Thane, he said.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in a tweet said he has ordered a probe into the incident by experts.
He expressed grief over the death of workers in the accident.
It was a special-purpose mobile gantry crane used in bridge construction and to install precast box girders in highway construction projects.
The accident took place shortly after midnight on Tuesday near Sarlambe village in Shahapur tehsil, around 80 km from Mumbai, the official said.
The Samruddhi Mahamarg, named Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is a 701-km-long expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur.
It traverses 10 districts including Nagpur, Washim, Wardha, Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Amravati, Jalna, Nashik and Thane.
The construction of the Samruddhi Mahamarg is being carried out by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
The first phase, connecting Nagpur to the temple town of Shirdi, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2022. It covers a distance of 520 km.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis inaugurated the 80 km long second phase of the Samruddhi Mahamarg stretch from Bharvir village in Igatpuri taluka to Shirdi on May 26.
Shinde said in May that the third and last phase would be completed by the end of December this year.
As many as 88 people have lost their lives in road accidents in the last six months on Samruddhi Expressway in Maharashtra, including 25 last month as a private bus caught fire after hitting a divider, an official said.
Road hypnosis is cited as one of the causes of the accidents on the six lane wide access-controlled expressway, the state highway police official said.
Highway hypnosis or driving hypnosis is a condition when a driver zones out while driving a vehicle without remembering what occurred in that specific period.
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