Ajay Padval, a young and enthusiastic mountain biker, passed away in a biking accident in Leh, at noon on 13th July. Hailing from Pune, Ajay was on a road trip with his two friends, Abha Pandit and Tuhin Satarkar.
An avid biker, Ajay was cycling down the Khardung-La pass along with 6 other cyclists, when his bike crashed leading to a severe head injury. After being under a medical treatment for 20+ long hours, Ajay was also put on respiratory support. Around noon, Ajay succumbed to his injuries.
Ajay began his road trip on the 1st of July and his Facebook profile gives us a glimpse of his journey, including his last post which he posted on the 5th of July, after reaching Kargil.
Loved among the biking community of Pune, Ajay Padval was an expert downhill racer, having ticked-off many difficult trails and trips on his list. An enthusiastic kid who would participate in everything, Ajay also worked as a correspondent at Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine. His untimely death is deeply saddening. Just a month before his death, he was featured in the Pune Times for his biking expeditions.
What also is saddening, is the fact that his death has been used as a magnet to circulate fake stories and rumours over the internet. Many online sources have reported the lack of medical supervision including airlift to move Ajay to a different medical facility. Some of the sources have also wrongly claimed that his airlift was denied because he was not a citizen of Leh.
However, a Facebook post by Ajay’s friend and co-traveller Abha, has clarified these wrong accusations.
In the post, she has mentioned how Defence Personnel, Armed Forces Medical Team and the Indian Mountaineering Foundation helped them to arrange an airlift for Ajay. But since his condition was not fit enough, he couldn’t be airlifted.
Abha also says in her post, “We read a few posts talking about how he would’ve made it had he been airlifted on time, but the reality is it was risky to fly him anywhere with the brain injuries he was suffering from. After having almost 15 doctors, both civilian and from the Armed Forces take a look at him and his condition, all were of the opinion that with the grave extent of his injuries, the chances of a recovery were very slim.
We request anyone reading this to help us stop false rumours about Ajay’s accident from spreading, especially through social media”
While Ajay’s family and friends grieve over his death, it is our responsibility to stop circulating rumours and news that would disturb them.
Ajay will always be remembered for his perseverance and courage.