Vinod Ghadge (50) decided to pay homage to the martyrs who lost their lives in the 26/11 terror attacks by doing what he has done all his life – swimming. But the tribute cost him his life.
A national-level swimmer, Ghadge, who was recently nominated for the highest sports award in Maharashtra — Shiv Chhatrapati Puraskar — decided to swim from Dharamtar in Raigad to the Gateway of India with his brother Balasaheb and his 15-year-old pupil Dhanajay Komrekar.
Family members said Dhananjay and Balasaheb started 20 minutes before Ghadge as the swimmer was confident he would catch up with them. Ghadge started at 2.20 am. A group of 60 people accompanied them in four boats.
But two hours after he left the Raigad coast, Ghadge met with an accident. Group members who were in the boat following Ghadge said around 4.15 am he got stuck in a fishing net. “It took us two minutes to realise Ghadge was missing. Three divers jumped in and found him,” said his friend Ulhas Phatak. Ghadge died on the way to the hospital.
His family says Ghadge would have been alive if buoys had been used to mark the fishing nets.