Three members of a Mumbai-based family are among 239 people feared dead in the Malaysian Airlines flight, which crashed into the Vietnam coast Saturday, airline authorities said.
Neighbours said Vinod Kolekar (59), his wife Chetna (55) and their younger son Swanand (23) had left Mumbai to attend the convocation function of their older son, Samved (29), who is in China.
A neighbour of the Kolekars, Gauri Sharad Bapat, said, “Samved had completed a PhD in Ayurveda and is currently doing another PhD in a separate field. In November 2013, he married and had shifted to Beijing. He wanted his family to attend the convocation, due on Sunday, and called them to China. They had not managed to get a direct flight from Mumbai to Beijing and instead had to take a connecting flight from Kuala Lampur. We are still in shock and cannot believe they are gone,” she said.
The Kolekar family lived in Sukh Sagar Society, Yogi Nagar, on the Link Road in Borivali. Vinod, an engineer, worked with Mahindra & Mahindra and opted for voluntary retirement a few years ago. Post-retirement, Vinod was engaged in counselling engineering aspirants.
Chetna, who worked as a nurse at a government hospital, had also taken voluntary retirement. Younger son Swanand graduated from the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology in Andheri (West) in 2013 with a degree in instrumentation engineering.
Neighbours said the Kolekars had been living in the Sukh Sagar Society for the over 20 years and mostly kept to themselves. “When the boys were younger, they used to mix around with others. Once they grew up, they mostly remained busy with their academics. Some of their relatives live in Mulund,” said a neighbour.
(Rohit Alok & Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra with inputs Alison Saldanha)