A 23-year-old engineer died of suspected asphyxiation and his teenaged woman friend was found unconscious in a car parked in a garage in Narela area of outer Delhi late on Friday, police said.
Dinesh Kumar Bansal was sitting in the backseat of the Hyundai Santro with Neeru Gupta (19), a Delhi University student, with the engine and the air conditioner (AC) running, the police said.
“The car ran out of fuel but the couple didn’t realise it. Carbon monoxide gas filled the car soon. As the shutters of the garage were down, there was no cross-ventilation and the AC pulled in the impure air leaving them suffocated,” said Atul Katiyar, deputy commissioner of police (outer).
The couple had been in the car 3 pm onwards. The incident was reported when Bansal’s father entered the garage to park his scooter around 11.45 pm on Friday, the police said.
He found the couple unconscious state and informed the police. Bansal was rushed to the nearby Raja Harish Chandra Hospital, where he was declared brought dead on arrival. Gupta was admitted with breathing problems and discharged after medical attention on Saturday, the police added.
“We found bloodstains on the walls of the garage. During investigations it was found Bansal sustained injuries while attempting to come out of the car,” said a senior police officer who did not wish to be named.
Both are residents of Punjabi Colony in Narela. Bansal was employed as a junior engineer with the Sonepat-based TDI Infrastructure Private Limited for the past year. The car belonged to Bansal’s father Rajender Bansal who dabbles in the property business and owns several shops in the area.
His elder brother, along with his family, had gone to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine when the incident took place.
“Carbon monoxide is odourless and there is no pain when a person inhales it. The only way to avoid it is not to keep your car’s engine on in an enclosed space. The gas is heavy and soon starts lingering below. Slowly it pushes oxygen out of the vents making the area poisonous,” said Tutu Dhawan, an automobile expert.
Forensic and automobile experts were called in to know the sequence of events.
“Carbon monoxide is a strong intoxicant and if a person keeps inhaling it, after a critical level you become drowsy and fail to struggle,” said Vikram Sarbhai, senior consultancy, pulmonology and sleep medicine, Escorts Heart Institute.