From Goa to Mumbai Croatian loses leg
A 56-year-old Caucasian who was missing a leg and his passport was brought to Mumbai on Tuesday from Roha town, 100-odd km south east of the city
The Roha cops who brought him to JJ hospital as a train accident case could not get him to divulge even his name. Nor would he utter a word to the doctors at the hospital. However, he told MiD DAY that his name was Marcel Koprivic and he was from Croatia. He did not have a passport because he was mugged, he claimed.
The man has piqued curiosity since he claimed he remembered walking down from Goa - where he said he had been on a vacation for the past five years - to nowhere in particular. But he was found on the brink of consciousness by the Konkan railway tracks at Medhe village, about 10 km from Roha with his left leg severed. He has no clue how.
He also claimed he had been staying at temple Gardens resort near Palolem beach in Goa but the resort manager said he did not live there anymore. The manager did, however, light up at the description of the man Marcel, who “frequently visited our restaurant and nearby diners asking for food”.
The police officers who found him rushed him to a government hospital in Roha, where he was provided primary medical care. When the officials tried quizzing him, they could not get past his willful muteness. On Tuesday, Koprivic was brought to JJ hospital around 6.45 pm for the necessary medical care and the surgery he required.
Doctors saw that his left leg had been severed at the knee, “probably after a train ran over his leg”. After checking his vitals, they realised he had lost close to 1.5 litres of blood and his blood pressure was dangerously low. He had also suffered minor injuries to his head and limbs. He was shifted to the surgical ward the next morning. But the hospital staff knows not a thing about this mystery figure.
Quite a vacation
When this reporter spoke with him, he broke his silence to say he lived near Palolem beach in Goa and did not remember how he reached Roha or Mumbai. He spelt out his name and the country he belongs to, and requested that his consulate be informed about his situation.
“I came to India first in 1995 and have been living in Goa ever since. I remember staying in the Temple Gardens resort and was recently mugged by four or five unknown people. They stole my bag, which had my passport in it. I do have a copy of my passport in my e-mail,” Koprivic said.
He said he did not remember meeting with a railway accident and denied having travelled by train. Koprivic is unaware he does not have a leg. Asked about what he did for a living here, he said, “I am a tourist and have been luxuriating in my time off here. I came here alone. My brother and daughter live in Croatia.”
When this reporter contacted the Goa resort he had mentioned, the manager Walter Fernandes immediately identified the name. Fernandes confirmed the victim’s identity. “Everybody here knows him by the name Marcello. He has been here for five years. He has not had a passport for a few years now. He claimed he lost it.
He frequently visited our restaurant and nearby diners asking for food. The last time I saw him was three or so weeks ago. He had been robbed and beaten up,” Fernandes said, adding that Koprivic was not staying at the resort.
Lost for words
A Roha police official confirmed that Koprivic was found near the railway tracks. “We got a call from the station manager at Roha station, informing us of a foreigner lying near the tracks. When we reached the spot near Medhegaon on the Konkan railway line, we found him lying by the tracks in a pool of blood, but he was still conscious,” he said.
The officer added, “After treating him at a government hospital here, our police constable AR Jaibai accompanied him to JJ hospital. We did not have any details about him as he refused to speak to us. He probably did not understand Hindi or Marathi. He also did not respond to the doctors who addressed him in English.”
Said a doctor at JJ Hospital, “He had suffered heavy blood loss which led to a huge fall in his blood pressure. He was semi-conscious and we gave him two units of blood and revived him using CPR,” said a doctor at the hospital. Dr T P Lahane, dean of the JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “The patient is currently stable and we are closely monitoring his condition. He has lost his left leg and suffered a fracture in his right thigh.”