How Mitsubishi Pajero SUV Saved Passengers from 1,640 Feet Fall
Imagine yourself driving a vehicle on a stunning mountain road, enjoying the surroundings and the breeze while all of a sudden surprisingly you lose control of your car and it starts to slip off the brink edge. That's exactly the tragedy which befell upon a group of passengers in a Mitsubishi Pajero SUV in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, who were heading for a vacation. The car descended to a startling 1,640 feet, or roughly 500 metres or half a kilometre, depth. Thankfully, every passenger on board made it out of the terrifying incident with only minor scrapes and injuries.
What caused the accident?
The exact cause of the vehicle’s sudden descent remains unknown, but local reports suggest that the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV may have lost its brakes or slipped from the edge. The incident occurred on a narrow and winding road in Ponmudi, a hill station popular among tourists and nature lovers2. The road conditions may have been challenging for the driver, especially if he was unfamiliar with the terrain or driving at high speed.
How did the passengers survive?
The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is renowned for its exceptional off-road capabilities and tackling challenging mountainous landscapes. It also has well-tuned suspension and braking mechanisms which means that even when driving on uneven and rugged mountain roads, the vehicle offers a smooth and controlled ride, reducing the risk of accidents caused by loss of control.
The SUV is powered by a robust 2477cc diesel engine, which delivers optimum power and torque. This means that even when driving uphill or on steep slopes, the Pajero Sport can maintain sufficient power and acceleration. It also includes a 5-speed automatic transmission. This feature allows for seamless gear shifting, providing drivers with better handling and control over the vehicle’s speed.
Mitsubishi Pajero boasts a generous ground clearance of 215 mm, which means it has ample space between the bottom of the vehicle and the ground. This allows the SUV to navigate over obstacles, rocks and uneven surfaces without getting stuck or damaged. The wheelbase of 2800 mm provides stability and balance to the vehicle, even when driving on steep inclines.
The Pajero Sport is equipped with various safety features to enhance passenger protection. These include ABS with EBD (Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) that prevents wheels from locking up during sudden braking, a hydraulic brake booster that improves braking efficiency, a collapsible steering column that absorbs impact in case of a collision, and an anti-intrusion brake pedal that reduces the risk of foot injuries during accidents.
Another crucial factor that may have saved the passengers’ lives is the use of seatbelts. Seatbelts are designed to keep occupants in place and prevent them from being thrown out of the vehicle or hitting hard surfaces inside. Seatbelts also distribute the force of impact across the body, reducing the chances of severe injuries or death. Only passengers with their seatbelts on can survive such accidents as you get thrown around and get serious injuries that can even turn fatal.
What can we learn from this incident?
This incident shows how sometimes passengers can get lucky and survive such massive crashes. However, it also highlights the importance of being careful and responsible while driving on mountain roads. Mountain driving offers a thrilling and memorable experience, but it also entails certain risks. However, by exercising caution and adhering to essential rules, one can ensure a safe journey.
Some of these rules are:
Staying within your designated lane is one of the primary rules while driving on undivided mountain roads. New drivers often veer into the opposite lane, which can result in potentially catastrophic accidents.
Being mindful of overtaking is another crucial aspect. Attempting to overtake on blind corners is highly dangerous and can lead to severe accidents. It is advisable to wait for clear visibility and enough space before overtaking.
Reducing speed is also important when driving on mountain roads. Driving at high speeds can make it difficult to control the vehicle or react to sudden changes in road conditions or traffic. It also increases the impact force in case of a collision.
Being vigilant of weather conditions is another factor that can affect mountain driving. Weather conditions can change rapidly in mountainous regions and affect visibility, traction and temperature. One significant hazard is the presence of black ice on the roads, which can cause vehicles to lose traction. Black ice, a frozen form of water, tends to form shortly after sunset. It creates the illusion of a wet surface and is challenging to detect. This poses a serious threat to all vehicles, especially when travelling at high speeds. It is crucial to exercise caution, reduce speed, and be vigilant when encountering potentially wet surfaces, particularly after sunset, to minimize the risks associated with black ice.
The Mitsubishi Pajero SUV that fell 1,640 feet from a hill in Kerala is a rare and remarkable case of survival. The passengers on board were fortunate to escape with minor injuries, thanks to the vehicle’s features and their use of seatbelts. However, this incident also serves as a reminder of the dangers and challenges of mountain driving. By following some simple but essential rules, drivers can enjoy the beauty and adventure of mountain roads without compromising their safety or that of others.