The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Anxiety, agony & amputation
- Search for husband ends in morgue

Mumbai, July 13: Sunita Birwadkar’s agonising search for husband Sunil has ended ' in the morgue of Sion Hospital.

Since Tuesday evening, when 38-year-old Sunil left office 15 minutes early to attend a Guru Purnima programme, Sunita had gone from hospital to hospital till she covered a dozen with still no trace of her husband.

His family and colleagues at the foreign exchange broking firm, Mecklai & Mecklai, on M.G. Road in south Mumbai scoured every hospital where the injured and dead had been taken. Even police lists did not have his name. The family then put out Sunil’s picture on TV news channels, asking viewers for information.

“The family also visited Sion Hospital during their search, but the hospital staff initially said he was neither among the injured nor the dead. They said he was not listed among the emergency cases in the intensive care unit either,” a colleague said. Around midnight on Wednesday, the hospital telephoned asking the family to come and identify a patient who had died of severe head and back injuries. The patient turned out to be Sunil.

He had been caught in the first explosion at Khar.

“It is very tragic for his family because they didn’t get a last glimpse of him when he was battling for life in the ICU. They will always feel they could have done something had they traced him when he was alive,” he said.

His 33-year-old widow was in shock as she completed the formalities to take Sunil’s body home to their Malad residence.

Nancy Noronha’s search for her husband, 56-year-old Joseph, also ended in the morgue at Sion Hospital which had the highest number of dead at more than 45.

A senior manager with the Greater Bombay Co-operative Bank, Joseph was returning from his Churchgate office when the bombers struck. Like the Birwadkars, the Noronha family searched all city hospitals but could not find him.

“At 4 this afternoon, someone saw his photograph and description flashed on a TV channel and informed us. Nancy has now gone to Sion Hospital but learnt that he has passed away. We still don’t know which of the seven blasts killed him,” his niece Corienne said.

But for some, like Vinesh Chavan, the search ended happily. Vinesh’s brother Mangesh, 32, had been missing since he left his Andheri office. Today, the family received a call from a Thane hospital. “Mangesh was travelling to a friend’s house in Bhayander when the explosion happened. The blast killed two of his friends, but he managed to escape with minor injuries. He was admitted to a hospital in Thane but is so mentally disturbed that we have not asked him anything,” Vinesh said.

Out of the total 773 injured, more than half have been discharged from city hospitals, police said. “Six people are listed as missing. Six of the dead have been identified, but their bodies are unclaimed. Two unidentifiable bodies still lie unclaimed at Sion hospital. One unidentified injured person is at Bhagwati hospital in Borivali,” a control room officer said.

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