A usually sleepy, lower-middle class settlement nestled between a burgeoning hardware hub and a series of small, wholesale markets, the Parvatiya colony — in Old Faridabad's Sector 23 — was witness to the most horrid disaster in its collective memory on Wednesday night.
"I was talking with Vedwati, one of the victims, near my house, when her four-year-old son Yash, suddenly started crying," said Santosh Kaushik, an eyewitness and neighbour of Vedwati, one of three women who perished after the seven-seater air ambulance crashed into their rented homes.
Minutes before tragedy struck, the Parvatiya colony had plunged into darkness due to a power breakdown. A furious storm had been lashing Faridabad around 10.30pm.
Almost simultaneously, the ill-fated chartered plane — which was carrying a critically-ill Rahul Raj, suffering from a life-threatening bout of hepatitis and jaundice — from Patna to Delhi, appeared on the horizon.
"The plane had started hovering over our houses by that time but we never knew it was coming crashing down on Vedwati's house. It was only later that I realised that Yash wanted to draw his mother's attention towards the plane
that was flying over so closely, and would soon crash, on what now remains of her house," Kaushik said.
In an attempt to take the mind of her only son off the bad weather and the menacingly-dark night, Vedwati carried Yash back home, where the blazing shrapnel of the air ambulance claimed her life.
As her despairing husband Shobha Ram Sherawat later recalled, his wife Vedwati, their daughter-in-law Rani and daughter, Savita were lost amid the mound of blazing wreckage.
"The plane crashed on Vedwati's house. She died along with her daughter and daughter-in-law. Yash survived," Kaushik said. "I wish she had stayed with me some more time," he added.