British doctor's daughter drowns after falling into fast-flowing river in India

18-month-old Manvi slipped from her father's arms into the river

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A British doctor's young daughter has drowned after falling from his arms and into a fast-flowing river in India.

Dr Megha Reddy, an anaesthetist from Wolverhampton, was on holiday with his family to visit relations and attend a wedding when the accident happened near the city of Hyderabad, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

Dr Reddy, 42, said he had taken his 18-month-old daughter Manvi and her brothers, aged 10 and five, to see the Musi River, which was swollen from the monsoon season's heavy rains.

Police said Dr Reddy was unable to jump into the river because it was flowing so fast, leaving passers by also unable to reach her.

"I was holding Manvi when she suddenly moved and slipped from my arms," he told police inspector Srinivas Reddy.

Police and swimmers were deployed to search for her, but her body was not retrieved until two days later after being discovered three miles downstream by divers and a boat from India's National Disaster Response Force.

Reports suggest Dr Reddy was photographing her brothers when she fell.

The officer said: "The sludge and swiftly flowing water apparently deterred him from jumping into the river. Some passers-by tried to rescue the baby, but by then there was no trace of her."

There was reports of a 90-minute delay in the search while neighbouring police authorities argued over whose responsibility it was.

Mr Reddy said: "The body was floating in the still water at the check dam. If there was any delay on our part in sending the boat, the body would have crossed the check dam along with the overflowing water."

Dr Reddy and his family had been visiting the place he had been born and educated in India, and were due to fly home to Britain earlier this week.

His wife Pratibha said the family had been visiting a dam 100 miles from Hyderabad and were on their way back when they stopped at a river so Dr Reddy could show his children the difference between man-made canals and a natural river in flood.

She said: "We had just returned from Nagarjuna Sagar, where the Krishna river was roaring. My husband took the children to Musi river at LB Nagar to show the difference between a full river and a city-based river."

The toddler's body was returned to her family on Saturday following a post-mortem examination.

Dr Reddy, who has worked in Britain since 1997 and has joint British and Indian citizenship with his family, is an obstetric anaesthetist specialist at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, the Telegraph said.

Additional reporting by Press Association