Couple and daughter were visiting family in India when crash happened

Southampton couple die and daughter fights for life after coach crash

Southampton couple die and daughter fights for life after coach crash

First published in News
Last updated

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.

Comments (10)

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2:20pm Mon 25 Aug 14

margie933 says...

Oh How dreadful!! So sorry to hear of such a terrible crash that cost the lives of so many. May the little girl pull through her terrible ordeal and that their is other Family members that will care for her.
Oh How dreadful!! So sorry to hear of such a terrible crash that cost the lives of so many. May the little girl pull through her terrible ordeal and that their is other Family members that will care for her. margie933
  • Score: 19

2:25pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Hdg end mo says...

Extremely sad for all all involved sincere condolences to all family & friends thoughts and prayers with you all at this difficult time praying the little girl pulls through
Extremely sad for all all involved sincere condolences to all family & friends thoughts and prayers with you all at this difficult time praying the little girl pulls through Hdg end mo
  • Score: 13

2:34pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Huey says...

So desperately sad...
The only hope is the young girl pulling through.
So desperately sad... The only hope is the young girl pulling through. Huey
  • Score: 10

2:41pm Mon 25 Aug 14

IronLady2010 says...

As a frequent traveler to India, my heart goes out to those involved. The road rules in India are so different to ours and are rarely enforced.

The local buses are on there last legs, often with seats being loose and not attached to the floor.

As a tourist we often find it amusing with the state of the buses, but in reality it's an accident waiting to happen.
As a frequent traveler to India, my heart goes out to those involved. The road rules in India are so different to ours and are rarely enforced. The local buses are on there last legs, often with seats being loose and not attached to the floor. As a tourist we often find it amusing with the state of the buses, but in reality it's an accident waiting to happen. IronLady2010
  • Score: 9

3:20pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Kerry26 says...

I knew this man since his daughter turned and helped so much! I will never forget the help I received from and my life wouldn't be where it is now without your help your a top bloke and I really hope this lil one pulls through R.I.P xx
I knew this man since his daughter turned and helped so much! I will never forget the help I received from and my life wouldn't be where it is now without your help your a top bloke and I really hope this lil one pulls through R.I.P xx Kerry26
  • Score: 9

6:26pm Mon 25 Aug 14

leesa-kim says...

What a shock and so close to them coming home , Roopesh such a lovely and helpfull man , hope his daughter pulls through , my thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time , and also the people he worked with.
What a shock and so close to them coming home , Roopesh such a lovely and helpfull man , hope his daughter pulls through , my thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time , and also the people he worked with. leesa-kim
  • Score: 8

6:28pm Mon 25 Aug 14

missdee says...

What a tragedy. Roopesh was such a warm, genuine person. I had the pleasure of working with him for a while and you couldn't have worked with a nicer person. He loved his job and really wanted to help those he worked with. He will be sorely missed xxx
What a tragedy. Roopesh was such a warm, genuine person. I had the pleasure of working with him for a while and you couldn't have worked with a nicer person. He loved his job and really wanted to help those he worked with. He will be sorely missed xxx missdee
  • Score: 5

8:15pm Mon 25 Aug 14

thesouth says...

Sounded like very caring people with all they did. Why them? :(
Sounded like very caring people with all they did. Why them? :( thesouth
  • Score: 4

8:45pm Mon 25 Aug 14

teresa-ann-1 says...

I have worked closely with Ropoesh for the past 6 years and he was the kindest caring individual you could ever wish to meet. He cared about the families and children of Southampton and as a Team we will all feel a tremendous sense of loss without him, and I will miss him as a friend.
I have worked closely with Ropoesh for the past 6 years and he was the kindest caring individual you could ever wish to meet. He cared about the families and children of Southampton and as a Team we will all feel a tremendous sense of loss without him, and I will miss him as a friend. teresa-ann-1
  • Score: 8

10:57pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Bypass says...

A true gentleman, a heart of gold a fantastic family man, and brilliant wise person who had so much more to offer. Glad your together with your lovely wife **** heart felt love sent to your lovely daughter **** Will miss you so much xx Heavens gain xxx
A true gentleman, a heart of gold a fantastic family man, and brilliant wise person who had so much more to offer. Glad your together with your lovely wife **** heart felt love sent to your lovely daughter **** Will miss you so much xx Heavens gain xxx Bypass
  • Score: 0
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