At least three persons were killed and another 24 missing after a small dam burst near Bhendewadi hamlet after a torrential downpour late on Tuesday night, an official said here on Wednesday.
The incident happened around 9.30 p.m. when the Tivare Dam, which had started overflowing after heavy rain, breached soon after, Resident Deputy Collector Datta Bhadakawad told IANS.
As water gushed out creating a flood-like situation, at least seven villages downstream were inundated and a dozen houses in Bhendewadi with 14 families which were washed away.
The affected villages are: Daadar, Akle, Riktoli, Ovali, Kalkavne, Nandivase, with an estimated total population of around 3,000, in a hilly region, around 90 km from the district headquarters.
So far, the police have recovered three bodies from the water and a search is on for the remaining still untraced. Around 20 vehicles have also been washed away in the dam water.
Teams of the fire brigade and NDRF from Pune and Sindhudurg, besides local volunteers, have launched rescue operations. Top civil and police officials also rushed to the spot.
The dam was built in 2000 and people in the area claim they had informed the district authorities of its leakage two years back but no repairs were carried out.
Large parts of Maharashtra have been battered with heavy rain in the past five days, and on Tuesday at least 45 people were killed in rain-related incidents across the state.