Community mourns for Tongabbie toddler Rishwika

Despite the prompt arrival of paramedics, they were unable to save the little girl, marking a devastating turn of events for the Salibindla family.

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In a heart-wrenching incident, 18-month-old Rishwika Salibindla lost her life when she was struck by a four-wheel-drive in the driveway of her family’s residence on Edna Ave in Toongabbie, Sydney. The incident occurred at approximately 5:20 pm on Friday, leaving the community in shock and mourning.

Family members gathered at the scene shortly after the tragic accident unfolded. Despite the prompt arrival of paramedics, they were unable to save the little girl, marking a devastating turn of events for the Salibindla family.

Footage of the street revealed a black four-wheel drive cordoned off within a taped area on the cul-de-sac, though details about the driver were not immediately released by the authorities. The circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation.

Rishwika’s uncle, Joseph Salibindla, spoke to The Daily Telegraph, describing his niece as “very sweet and cheeky” and emphasizing that the incident was a “terrible accident.” According to Joseph, the tragedy unfolded as Rishwika’s father was reversing out of the driveway on his way to the supermarket.

“It is just heartbreaking,” Joseph expressed. “We can’t believe what has happened.”

Joseph, along with his wife and other family members, arrived at the scene to provide support to Rishwika’s grieving mother and two older brothers, who were present at home when the incident occurred. Meanwhile, Rishwika’s inconsolable father was transported to Parramatta Police Station for questioning, as the family copes with the unimaginable loss.

A GoFundMe campaign has been initiated by a friend of the family to raise funds for Rishwika’s memorial. The online campaign describes the toddler as “beautiful,” urging the community to contribute to support the grieving family during this difficult time.

In an official statement, the New South Wales Police provided additional details about the incident. The driver of the Audi 4WD involved in the tragic accident is identified as a 41-year-old man. Following the incident, he was taken to Westmead Hospital for mandatory testing. A comprehensive investigation is underway, and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.

Authorities have called for anyone with information about the incident to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or via the website https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information will be treated in strict confidence, and the public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

As the community grapples with the sorrowful loss of a young life, thoughts and condolences are pouring in for the Salibindla family during this difficult time.

The Salibindlas’ devout Christian community has been deep in prayer since the tragedy.

“Dear God, I humbly come before You with a heavy heart. I pray … as we go through this season of sorrow for my dear brother in Christ Joseph and sister Sravanthi sister (at their) daughter’s sudden, unexpected, accident demise,” Uday Isac Kotireddy wrote on Facebook.

“O Lord, we call upon You in this time of sorrow, grief and mourning, that You give them the strength and love of Your divine compassion to their hearts and family. We ask for your comfort and strength (to wipe) their tears. Praying (that) your peace and presence shall follow all the family members forever, Father,” added Mr Kotireddy.

Mr Hugh McDermott MP, State Member for Prospect said in a statement on Facebook, “Over the weekend, the Prospect Electorate lost a beautiful and spirited member of our community. I send my heartfelt sorrows to the family and friends of Rishwika Salibindla, a precious little girl who was taken far too soon in a tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

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