Two inside car drown as Mumbai’s Malad subway floods
Two friends – Gulshad Mumtaz Ali Shaikh, 40, a businessman, and Irfan Shahanbaaz Khan, 38, a driver – drowned in their car in a Malad subway, as the level of rainwater around the vehicle suddenly rose within minutes, leaving them stranded.
The incident happened around 11pm on Monday. A 2.16-minute video, which was circulated on social media and a copy of which is with HT, shows the horrific last few minutes as the car got stuck and drowned, while people looked on helplessly from a distance of just 50m.
The duo is seen kicking the door and windows, but finding no way to escape. Their bodies were pulled out around 4am on Tuesday.
Shaikh, a resident of Kokanipada, and Khan, a resident of Pathanwadi in Malad (East), were returning home in the car which belonged to Khan’s boss, Abid Baig, a businessman.
A Malad police official said, “As the water was not very high initially, they thought the car will pass through the subway, but they misjudged.”
Khan’s aunt Sana Baig, told HT, “Their car got stuck around 11.15pm. They were not able to come out as the doors got locked and jammed. Irfan called Abid, who called his wife, who then called me.”
Baig rushed to the spot and saw the subway get submerged. “The fire brigade and the police came much later and did nothing for four hours, even as my relatives and I kept screaming. When we shouted at them, they shouted back at us. They feared if they jump in, they will either drown or get electrocuted,” she said.
“An hour later, a boat and divers came, but they were not of much use. Finally, around 3.30am, a local resident, Salman Shaikh, 27, dived into over 10ft water without caring for his life and located the Scorpio car and tied a rope to it. Over 20 people then pulled it out,” said Baig.
Salman, who works at a garment shop, told HT, “I am saddened by the response of the government authorities. I put my life on line as I could not bear it anymore. They need good swimmers. I located the car in 10 minutes and they, on the other hand, were saying no car was stuck there.”
Khan had worked as a driver in Saudi Arabia for nine years and returned to India eight months ago. He is survived by his wife and six children, aged 10 to 20, who live in Hyderabad. Shaikh is survived by three brothers, his wife and three kids –a 10-year-old girl, an eight-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.
Shaikh had a belt and purse stall in Malad. Shaikh’s younger brother Irfan told HT: “There was no barricade. The incident took place near police chowky and RTO office. During the first rain on June 10, I saw water rise up to 10ft there. Was the BMC waiting for this to happen? Is it a swimming pool? ‘Are we expected to swim?’ was the reply we got when we asked them for help. We want strict action against officials who should have put up barricades, so that no one loses their loved ones in such a way.”
The police have registered an accidental death report and will check if there was negligence.