The identities of the two young students who perished while being trapped in their car after it crashed into a lake in Aveley have been confirmed, as their classmates and families try to cope with the loss.
Around 6.40 a.m. on Sunday, friends Nidhi Lalji Hirani and Ruxmi Premji Vaghjihani, both 20 years old, were on their way to work when their car for some reason lost control and swerved off the road into the lake in Egerton Park.
First responders have revealed devastating details of how they hurried to aid the duo as they cried for help and desperately attempted to exit their sinking vehicle, but tragically their attempts were futile. Despite the efforts of bystanders who rushed to their help and attempted to save them from the flooded Toyota Corolla, the 20-year-olds perished at the site.
According to a witness who only wished to be identified by his last name Singh, he was on his way to a neighbouring shrine when he noticed the partially submerged car. Singh, the witness told 7NEWS, “I was the first one to notice them and when I stopped I could see that they had tried to smash the windows, but they could not get it open.”
Singh signalled other drivers to aid the women since he couldn’t swim. The water had risen and the car was underwater when a witness stopped, swam out to it with a wrench, and attempted to shatter the windows. Only police divers using specialised equipment were able to recover the bodies, and it took them hours to do so.
Singh added, “I think it’s tragic that we could not pull this off and I never expected it would end up like this.”
KP Halai, the two girls’ uncle, was awakened by a frantic call from them as they screamed for assistance from inside the car. Halai, 38, hurried to the site, but the car had already vanished from sight.
Halai told 7NEWS, “Nidhi called, and she said, we are drowning the car is going down. I told her on the phone just try to open the door or try to kick the glass or something, and they said, “We’ve tried to open the door, but it’s not opening.” He remarked, “They were panicking, they were afraid.”
The two ladies travelled to Australia to study around four months ago, according to Dhanji Bhudia, a family friend of the two women and their parents, who reside in Kenya. Both were reportedly foreign students at Edith Cowan University.
The two, who shared a home in Aveley, were on their way to work at a deli in Ballajura when the tragedy occurred, according to Mr. Bhudia. The women were associated with Bennett Springs’ Shree Swaminarayan Temple. Mr. Bhudia was unsure of who was driving, but owing to the pair’s sincere religious beliefs, he ruled out the use of drugs or alcohol.
Inspector Craig Collins of the WA Police stated, “Unfortunately, due to the location, tragically it was very difficult.” Collins said it’s unknown what led the women to stray from the path of travel.
He added, “It’s early stages of the investigation. We haven’t got anything other than we don’t believe there’s any other vehicle involved.”
According to police, on Sunday morning in Aveley, the car was travelling south on Edgerton Road when it made a right onto Gnangara Road and then, for some reason, went past the median strip and into an adjacent lake.
On Sunday night, a candlelight vigil was conducted in memory of the two young women, during which mourners left flowers and candles. Following the tragedy on Sunday morning, almost 100 people gathered to offer their respects.