Comatose for nine years, 7/11 Mumbai train blasts victim Parag Sawant dies

Mumbai: Nine years after being in coma, Parag Sawant, who was injured in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai suburban train serial blasts, died here early Tuesday, officials said.

Parag Sawant with his physiotherapist at Hinduja Hospital
Parag Sawant with his physiotherapist at Hinduja Hospital. Pic/mid-day archive

Then aged 27, Sawant was travelling in a Churchgate-Virar train to his home when a bomb ripped apart a coach of the suburban local near Bhayander.

He suffered extensive head injuries and brain trauma and was rushed to the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mira Road before being shifted to P.D. Hinduja Hospital in south Mumbai.


Police and onlookers stand around a mangled commuter train's wagon following a series of blasts which targetted India's financial capital commuters' network in Mumbai, 11 July 2006. File pic/ AFP

Doctors and family members of Sawant kept hoping for his recovery, but his condition worsened in the early hours of Tuesday, eventually leading to his death.

While treating doctors confirmed that Sawant was in deep coma for about two years, they also said that there was a slight recovery in his condition, as a result of which he was in a semi-conscious state. Sawant could understand simple commands and respond accordingly. “He underwent multiple operations for brain treatment and was on supportive care and physiotherapy for few years,” revealed one the doctors.

At 5:30 am, on Tuesday, one of the staff nurses checked Sawant and his condition was stable. However within half an hour, Sawant’s saturation levels dropped and he was put on oxygen in an effort to stabilise his breathing condition. But, he suffered a sudden respiratory arrest. Even after the CPR team conducted necessary resuscitation measures, Sawant could not be revived and was declared dead at 6:54 am. The cause of his death has been stated as cardio respiratory arrest and immediate deterioration due to pulmonary embolism.

When contacted the official spokesperson of the hospital said, “Dr. Sanjay Agarwala, Director- Professional Services & Chief of surgery, Head-Orthopaedics & Traumatology, P.D. Hinduja Hospital, was overseeing the condition of Sawant, who was with us for almost 9 years. Our hospital staff has been rendering utmost care and, at this time of grief, we offer heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."

"I am sad to hear the news. In fact last week, I was discussing with his family members my plans to visit Parag (Sawant) at the hospital on the ninth anniversary of the 7/11 blasts next Saturday. His family and Parag took the tragedy bravely," said Kirit Somaiya, Mumbai North-East BJP MP.

One of the last survivors of the terror attack, Sawant, 36, is survived by his wife Priti, rehabilitated with a job in Indian Railways, and minor daughter Praniti, eight years old whom he never saw as she was born after he lapsed into a vegetative state.

Sawant had become popular among the masses for his will to live, had regained consciousness briefly in 2008, and was visited by personalities like former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani and union Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The 7/11 Mumbai suburban trains serial blasts, carried out in a span of just 11 minutes, targeted the crowded suburban services during the evening peak hours as bombs kept in pressure cookers went off in north-bound locals on Western Railway.

A total of 209 commuters were killed and another 700-plus injured in the most deadly attack on Mumbai's lifeline at Bhayander, Borivali, Jogeshwari, Khar Road, Bandra, Mahim and Matunga Road, while one unexploded bomb was found by police and defused at Borivali.

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