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EconomyBusinessHow Cyrus Mistry died: Police trace preliminary evidence

How Cyrus Mistry died: Police trace preliminary evidence

Former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry and a co-passenger killed in a car crash were not wearing seat belts, according to a preliminary investigation. The probe also found that over-speeding and the “error of judgement” by the driver caused the accident. 

The Mercedes car traversed a distance of 20 km in just 9 min after crossing the Charoti check post in District Palghar, Maharashtra, 120 km away from Mumbai, a police official said. The car hit a road divider on a bridge over River Surya, killing Mistry, 54, and Jahangir Pandole on the spot.

Automobile experts say such high-end cars' seat belts are electronically linked to the airbags. Putting on the seat belt puts the airbags around the passenger on alert mode. while a seat belt itself protects the user from hitting the solid objects in the car in front of him/her by blocking the belt that an accident forces to loosen up, the blockade may impact the neck area, bruising the skin at the least. But the additional safety of airbags cushions the impact. By not putting the seat belt on, Cyrus Mistry did not even put the airbags around him on an alert mode. The car inmates on the front row were saved, as their seat belts were on and the airbags around them blew open as well, saving them from the impact.

Electric vehicles EKA Sudhir Mehta released a video on 5 September, showing the importance of seat beats even for travelling passengers.

Taking to Twitter, Mehta wrote, "We were once again morbidly reminded how #seatbelts save lives..front or rear seat, it is paramount for all passengers to wear them. As a seat manufacturer we know the ramifications..its been proved multiple times that #SeatBelts are the principal difference between life & death."

“This #Ganpati let us all take a pledge to ensure the safety of our loved ones. From all passengers wearing seat belts, to securing kids in a car seat, to both rider & pillion wearing a helmets..let us protect ourselves and our future,” he wrote.

Cyrus Mistry was returning to Mumbai from Ahmedabad when the tragedy struck at 2:30 PM. Mumbai-based gynaecologist Anahita Pandole, 55, was driving the car. She and her husband Darius Pandole, 60, were seriously injured in the accident.

"While analysing the footage captured by CCTV cameras at the Charoti check post, Palghar police found the car had crossed the check post at 2:21 PM and the accident took place 20 km ahead (in the direction of Mumbai)," the police said.

An eyewitness had told news agency ANI earlier that a woman was driving the car; she tried to overtake another vehicle from the left side but lost control and crashed into the road divider. The bodies of Mistry and Jahangir Pandole were sent to the state-run JJ in Mumbai for postmortem. Jahangir Pandole was the brother of Darius Pandole, a former independent director of the Tata Group of companies.

The accident has reignited concerns about the poor state of India’s roads, identified by the World Bank as the world’s deadliest.

Images circulating on social media showed skid-marks of a Mercedes veering off the road just next to a pothole. Airbags in the rear didn’t inflate.

While India has built the world’s second-biggest road network spanning 5.89 x 106 km, its highways are often marred by shoddy construction and poor maintenance.

— With inputs from agencies

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