The four-hour ordeal of 30-year-old Vaidehi Gaonkar ended after locals spotted her struggling to stay afloat with her daughter in her arms in Shivaji lake in Bhandup (West) at around 7.30am on Thursday. A passerby jumped in and saved her, but her four-year-old daughter did not survive.
“I was returning home after dropping my kid at school when I saw the crowd. When I realised the woman was alive and needed help, I jumped in as I know swimming,” Prashant Kadam told HT.
The woman had left her residence after writing a suicide note stating she was unhappy about her husband’s drinking habit, but no one was responsible for her suicide. Gaonkar’s husband Vinayak works as an accountant in a cooperative credit society.
While on her way to the lake near her Kokan Nagar residence, she lost the courage to jump with her daughter. “Gaonkar made her daughter sit by the bank of the lake and jumped into the water alone,” said Srirang Nadgouda, senior inspector of Bhandup police.
She was shaken when she saw her daughter follow her into the lake and struggling to stay afloat. She swam to her and held onto a rope in the water to prop up her up. The girl was declared dead on arrival by doctors at civic-run Rajawadi hospital.
“The last suicide had taken place in this lake around eight months ago,” Kadam said.
Police officials said Gaonkar’s husband not assaulted or harassed her, and since she specifically mentioned in the suicide note that nobody was responsible for her decision, he was not booked for abetment.
The police have arrested Gaonkar and would produce her before a local court on Friday.