A school driver drowned to death in a nullah in Virar yesterday.
While the 40-year-old turned saviour to two drowning school children after their vehicle turned turtle in the torrential rains, he couldn’t withstand the flow of the water and was washed away.
A resident of Virar, Prakash Balu Patil had started the school drop and pickup facility only recently. He bought a van and would ferry children from home to school and back every single day.
Yesterday, when the schools in Virar shut down early, on account of the downpour, Patil picked them up in his van and was on his way to drop them home. It was at this time that the van got stuck and turned turtle in a nullah (drain) near Narangi village. The flow of the water gave the poor driver and kids no respite.
An officer at Arnala police station told Midday that when Patil saw the two kids struggling to stay afloat, he jumped out of his seat to save them without a care for his own life.
And though the two kids were saved, the driver lost his balance and was washed away, leaving behind his bereaved wife, three kids and parents. His dead body was later recovered by firefighters.
The police has filed an accidental death report and is carrying forward the required investigation. As per the report, there were seven to eight students in the van, residents of Global City, Virar, and students at the Rustomjee School.
While words will never be enough to highlight the sacrifice that the humble driver made, we hope his family gets the strength to recover from the loss.
It is people like Prakash Balu Patil that time and again prove that heroes are the ones that give up their lives for something bigger than themselves.
And true heroes aren’t the ones we idolise in films or alternative universes; they are ordinary people who live extraordinary lives. Prakash Balu Patil was certainly one!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)