He spent 28 hrs next to bodies of his kin

He spent 28 hrs next to bodies of his kin

For Sunil Mahendra, it was not the biting cold of the dense forests of Mahabaleshwar that made him shiver, but spending 28 hours in a gorge next to the mutilated bodies of his kin.

“The time I spent with the mutilated bodies of my uncle and aunt in the biting cold are etched in my memory. It was a dense forest and no one could hear our screams however loud they were,” he said.

Sunil’s cousin Arvind Kannaberan, a techie from Bengaluru, planned a Christmas vacation at Mahabaleshwar. Hyderabad-based Sunil joined him at Kolhapur.

“Since Arvind’s parents could not travel that long a distance by road, they came from Bengaluru to Pune by train. We went around Kolhapur for a day. On December 26, we picked up Arvind’s parents from Pune,” said Sunil.

Sunil who was driving the car till Mahad asked Arvind to drive as he was tired.
‘Fast asleep’

“Others in the back seat were fast asleep. Half an hour after they began their journey from Mahad, in one of the curves in the ghat area, a heavy vehicle which was speeding hit us from the opposite direction. Our car crashed into the retaining wall and plunged into an 800-foot deep ravine,” recalled Sunil.

Only two hours later did he and his cousin Arvind gain consciousness. With the help of a mobile torch, they looked for other family members. While his uncle was dead, his cousin Anupama and niece Arpita were writhing in pain.

“My aunt was breathless for nearly half an hour. We could not even find a water bottle at that point in time. She breathed her last in front of our eyes,” Sunil said. Except for Sunil’s mobile, the others’ phones were damaged.

“There was no network at the place. I had to climb up a rock to get one point on the network bar.

“By 1 pm, I was able to get in touch with a Bengaluru-based friend, Hemanth. Minutes later, my phone got switched off as the battery was down,” he added.

The family got help only at 3 pm the following day. Arpita, Anupama and Arvind were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
DH News Service

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