The Patel family was driving to Pune from Bhayander so their 18-year-old daughter could attend her first day of college today; as they reached the Adoshi tunnel near Khopoli, a large boulder fell on their car, crushing the girl’s father
When Dilip Gopal Patel drove out from his Bhayander home last morning, he was looking forward to new beginnings, with his 18-year-old daughter due to start her first day of college from today. Little did the family suspect, however, that their trip to Pune would eventually spell the end for Dilip, who perished in the landslide that struck the Mumbai-Pune Expressway yesterday.
Dilip Gopal Patel with his wife Dharmishta
52-year-old Dilip was driving his daughter Binal (18) to Pune, where she was to begin college at Bharati Vidyapeeth from Monday. Also accompanying them were Dilip’s wife, Dharmishta, four-year-old son Maan and mother-in-law Nirmala Patel (65). Around noon, when the landslip struck near the Adoshi tunnel on the Mumbai-bound stretch, the Patels were heading in the opposite direction (towards Pune).
Due to the magnitude of the landslide, however, boulders soon began to fall on both sides of the Expressway. One such rock fell on the Patels’ car, crushing Dilip, who was at the wheel. The incident also injured his mother-in-law, although his wife and son were unharmed.
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Both Dilip and Nirmala were rushed to the hospital, but while Nirmala is currently undergoing treatment, Dilip succumbed to his injuries. His daughter Binal told mid-day, “I got admission in Bharati Vidyapeeth in the Audiology course, and Monday was to be my first day of college.
My family was going to drop me to Pune in time for the first day. We left home at 9.30 am and even stopped at Panvel for breakfast. Between noon and 12.30 pm, when we reached the tunnel, a rock fell on our car and my father lost control of the steering.
Another big rock then fell on the windshield and injured my father.” Vinod Vishnav, Dilip’s cousin brother, recalled, “I was in Pune, waiting for the family when around 1 pm, I heard that they had met with an accident due to a landslide. I rushed to the spot immediately, where I found that Dilip lying on the road in a pool of blood.
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I saw some movement in his body and tried to save him; we took him to the hospital but he was declared dead there. The whole family is in shock now." “Little Maan is only four years old and is too young to understand his father is dead.
We are all trying to come to terms with the death,” said another relative, adding Dilip’s mother-in-law had been seriously injured and had been admitted at Lokmanya Tilak Hospital in Pune.
Deceased: Shashikant Dhamankar (Byculla), Dilip Gopal Patel (Bhayander)
Injured: Mangal Mane (Dombivli), Sushila Dhamankar (Bhayander), Nirmala Patel (Bhayander), one unidentified
- Inputs from Chaitraly Deshmukh