Monday, November 29, 1999

Mountaineer cop dies after scaling Manali peak

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Mumbai, June 18 -- After surviving on life support for four days, assistant inspector Madhavi Kelgandre (40), who had scaled Basandhan peak in the Manali valley on June 3, died in a hospital in Ludhiana on June 8. The officer was with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police crime branch. Madhavi had joined the force in 1995. Her body was brought to Mumbai on June 9. "She lived like a hero and died a hero," said her husband Kishore, a lecturer in Civil Engineering at the KJ Somaiya Polytechnic, Ghatkopar. Madhavi is survived by her husband and daughter Rachana (11). An avid mountaineer and sportsperson, Madhavi had resumed her passion after a long break of 15 years. "She excelled in swimming and adventure sports during her college days. After her job and marriage, she stayed away from outdoor activities, as she wanted to start a family. After our daughter grew up, she decided to resume mountaineering," said Kishore, also a mountaineer. On May 25 Madhavi joined a group of 25 trekkers from the Raju Jadhav Memorial Foundation at Kolhapur to scale the Basandhan peak. "I never tried to stop her from undertaking the hazardous trek because I knew her zest. Once she makes up her mind, she will never look back," said Kishore. The group reached Manali on May 31. The trek began the next day for the 16,000-ft high peak. Madhavi unfurled the Tricolour on the peak on June 3. "Her team members said she had started feeling nauseous and tired before she reached the summit. But she refused to rest," he said. She came back to the camp and the next morning she was found unconscious. "Her colleagues brought her to a hospital at Manali. She was in coma by then."She was popular among her batchmates and seniors. "She was loved and respected by all," said her batch mate assistant inspector Dynashwar Wagh.

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