Couple riding bike on bridge washed away in Panvel’s Gadi river
A couple on their way to work got washed away while trying to cross a flooded bridge in Navi Mumbai’s Panvel on Tuesday morning.
Aditya Ambre, 30, and his wife Sarika, 28, had to cross the bridge over Gadi river as it is the only access to the main road from their home in Umroli village.
The police said the bridge was not very high, only 10 feet wide and had no railings. Overnight rain in the area caused the river to swell, submerging it entirely.
“The river water had already risen above the bridge when the couple tried to cross it on their two-wheeler. They were swept off by a strong current,” said a police officer from the Panvel taluka police station.
Residents informed the police, after which a team from the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) fire station began looking for them. Search operations were stopped at 7.30pm.
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team from Khopoli has been called in and will join the search on Wednesday. “Two groups of volunteers helped the fire brigade officials,” said another police officer.
Residents said the bridge, developed by the zilla parishad decades ago, is in a poor state. At least 500 villagers are cut off from the main road when Gadi river is in spate. For years now, residents have been demanding that a higher, wider bridge be built for the area. The public works department passed an order to build the new bridge, worth Rs 1.46 crore, only in March this year.
Aditya Ambre and Sarika were married in December last year. Aditya worked at an electronic shopping store at CBD Belapur, while Sarika was employed at a private firm in Nerul.
“I saw the couple crossing the bridge. After they were washed way, I could see the man flowing with the river for around 100m and the woman for 150m. After that, there was no sign of them,” said Sunil Tambe, 42, a resident of the area. Another resident Vishal Jadhav, 38, said people in the area know to avoid the bridge during the rain. “The couple was new to the area and probably could not judge the danger properly,” he said.