Submerged SUV turns death trap for 2 friends

Mumbai: Best friends don’t part: the grim reality confronted relatives of two friends who drowned inside a car in Malad after it got stuck in a flooded underpass on Monday night. Irfan Khan, 37, and Gulshad Shaikh, 38, were returning home late at night when they failed to gauge the depth of the water in a heavily waterlogged underpass in Malad and ploughed in. Or, possibly they were confident that their Scorpio will be able to negotiate the surging waters. The SUV became a death trap as water entered the engine, the automatic doors got jammed and the men could not get out. Eventually, their car was completely submerged.  It was subsequently learnt that when the duo found themselves marooned, they contacted their respective families and asked them to contact the fire brigade and the disaster control department. The families also rushed to the spot. Around 12.30 am, their car was retrieved from the subway with the help of the fire brigade and the friends were rushed to Shatabdi Hospital. But it was too late; doctors declared them dead before admission. 

The nonplussed families could do little except curse their luck and demand explanation from the civic authorities and the police. According to the police, "Both tried to force open the doors but failed; possibly the central locking system got activated, the doors got jammed owing to the water pressure and they could not prise them open. They tried to break the windows but without any result."   Hussain, Irfan's brother, said, "We received a call around 11.30 pm. Irfan said he was stuck in the car with Gulshad at Malad subway and asked us to call the fire brigade and disaster control room. We did so and immediately rushed to the spot ourselves, but their car was nowhere to be seen (it was submerged). Later, the fire brigade arrived, but it took them some time to get into action. A boat had to be requisitioned, which caused some delay. Had the agencies acted on time, both lives could have been saved," said Hussain.  The Malad Police have registered an Accidental Death Report in the case.

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