A Southampton couple has died and their daughter left critically injured after a crash while on holiday in India.
Roopesh Nawarkhele, 38, and his wife Kavita, 37, were killed instantly when their coach overturned after colliding with a car.
Witnesses said their nine-year-old daughter, Ananya was sitting on her parents’ lap when the accident happened and she is now in a hospital near Mohali being treated for life-threatening injuries.
Three students, studying in Chandigarh, were also travelling in the coach when the crash occurred and were burnt alive and 15 others were injured.
Indian Police said they are investigating the incident in the Punjab region but confirmed they had arrested the bus driver on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
Roopesh, who works in the childrens services for Southamptn City Council, was travelling from Dharamshala with his family to visit his brother when they took the bus, owned by The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) to Delhi.
The bus is owned by The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and was on its way to Delhi from Dharamshala when it overturned after hitting the Swift car going towards Mohali, Punjab.
The crash occurred in Dharamshala at 2.10 am on Saturday.
Family friend Amol Khamkar, 42, who has known Roopesh since 1996 when they were in India said: “They were a lovely family.
“They loved life and Ananya was their focus.
“He was like a brother to me and is like part of my family.
“He was my friend, philosopher and guide.
“I was lucky to have him here when I was so far away from our motherland.
“When I last came back from India on holiday he collected me from the bus station and I was going to do the same thing when he was due to come back on Friday.”
“He will be a big loss for Southampton and for the community.
“He was a very thorough professional
" We are keeping Ananya in our prayers and for her speedy recovery.”
Roopesh met and fell in love with wife Kavita while they worked for the Catholic Relief
Services in the aftermath of the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake, which claimed 20,000 lives.
She was a keen charity worker and volunteer, working for Childline in India helping street children and even volunteering recently at Southampton General Hospital.
They married in 2003 and Kavita moved to England with daughter Ananya in 2009 because they felt she would have better opportunities in life living here.
Amol added: "The major decision to migrate to this country was for their child who they loved dearly. They wanted her to have more opportunities in life.
"She's a very active girl who enjoys dancing and reading and competing in reading challenges and will be very academic one day.
"They were wonderful parents who joined the Parents Teacher Association at the school too.
"I remember meeting Rupesh at university and we just clicked instantly - he had a unique sense of humour and a quirky personality.
"He had the ability to diffuse any situation with humour and he helped me settle when we moved to England in 2010. They were like family to us.
"They had become eligible for British citizenship and enjoyed cruises from Southampton with friends and even presented shows on our local community radio Unity 101.
"He was also a keen photographer and loved taking pictures of nature.
"Our weekends we would spend with them, taking our children on education trips together to places like Marwell Zoo.
"Everyone in the community - at the Hindu temple, shopkeepers, workers in the navy they know - they're all devastated."
Amol was due to collect the Nawarkheles when they arrived back to their home city of Southampton on Friday after a flight back from Mumbai and a National Express bus ride.