In a devastating incident off the coast of Phillip Island, an Indian-Australian family from Melbourne’s southeast is grappling with profound grief, mourning the loss of four cherished members in Victoria’s worst drowning tragedy in nearly two decades.
The victims, siblings Jagjeet Shivam Anand (23) and Suhani Anand (20), alongside Kriti Bedi (20) and Reema Sondhi (42), were pulled from the waters near an unpatrolled beach in Newhaven, Phillip Island, on a fateful Wednesday afternoon.
Despite immediate efforts, all three younger victims succumbed to the incident, while the 42-year-old Indian national visiting family in Australia fought for her life before passing away a day later in the hospital.
Shivam, a registered nurse known for his compassionate nature, had dedicated his career to saving lives but tragically couldn’t be saved when he needed assistance. Suhani and Kriti, both aspiring nursing students, had plans to focus on their studies, but fate had other designs.
A GoFundme Campaign
Responding to the family’s unimaginable loss, friends initiated a GoFundMe campaign to offer support and help fulfill the family’s wishes during this challenging time. Ankur Chhabra, the campaign organizer, highlighted the need to unite in compassion to uplift grieving families from the depths of despair.
The funds raised aim to assist with various aspects, from transporting remains back to India to supporting the cremation ceremony in Australia.
This heartbreaking incident marks Victoria’s most significant mass drowning since the tragic events in Warrnambool in 2005, claiming the lives of five family members. The recent incident adds to the alarming tally of drownings in Victoria, reaching 19 since December, emphasizing the critical importance of water safety awareness and preventive measures.
As the community grapples with the enormity of this loss, the outpouring of support through the GoFundMe campaign serves as a testament to resilience and unity in the face of tragedy. The memories of Jagjeet Shivam Anand, Suhani Anand, Kriti Bedi, and Reema Sondhi will forever remain etched in the hearts of those who knew and loved them.