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A year on, family & friends still hope for return of youth swept away in flash floods

Search parties were immediately set up. Led by Father Rajesh Bansode, several cousins and friends, separate search teams were actively engaged in looking for him till at least four months after the incident.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: September 25, 2020 12:14:04 pm
Pune flash flood, Pune flash floods, Ganga Satellite Society, Victor Sangle, Pune city News, indian expressVehicles piled up on a street after a flash flood following heavy rains, in Pune, last year. (PTI photo/File)

“My brother always lived life kingsize,” says a cousin of 26-year-old Victor Sangle, who went missing in the flash floods that hit the city on September 25 last year.

A year later, search operations have halted but hopes of Sangle returning remains high among his family members.

“He has not been declared dead yet,” says another cousin, Father Rajesh Bansode, who is a priest at St Joseph’s Church in Ghorpadi.

Bansode has arranged an online mass on Friday where family members and friends will gather to mark the occasion. “In fact, during the lockdown, we got an anonymous call from someone in Beed district telling us that they had Victor’s Aadhaar card. That call raised our spirits but eventually, after a few inquiries, we realised it was a hoax,” said Father Bansode.

On the day of the incident, Sangle — a chartered accountant, an avid cyclist and a cancer survivor, who had an amputated leg — was driving from his house in Vimannagar to meet his cousin at Wanowrie. His car was swept away by flash floods at the causeway. The overflowing Bhairoba nalluh had flooded the Wanowrie causeway near Ganga Satellite Society and Raheja Gardens.

Sangle’s last communication with his family was when he called his cousin to tell him that his car had fallen into the canal, before the phone connection was lost.

Search parties were immediately set up. Led by Father Bansode, several cousins and friends, separate search teams were actively engaged in looking for him till at least four months after the incident.

“We went right up to Bhigwan dam, to no avail. There were disappointments but we are hopeful that he will return,” says Father Bansode.

At the online morning mass on Friday, friends and family will remember the missing youth.

A cousin of Victor said that he was always the life of any party. “…He had undergone cancer surgeries but such was his love for life that he would play the guitar, try his hand at different cuisines and ensure that everyone was happy around him,” said the cousin.

When contacted, Victor’s father Augustine Sangle refused to speak. “What is left to be said,” he asked. The family is now in Bhopal with their elder son.

Meanwhile, as part of its overall monsoon preparedness in the wake of the flash floods that hit Pune last year, several joint inspections were carried out by officials of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pune Cantonment Board (PCB).

PCB CEO Amit Kumar said they had given the required no objection certificate to PMC for completing the renovation work of the causeway.

“They have undertaken minor repair works but the entire work is yet to be completed,” said Kumar.

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