International students Nidhi Lalji Hirani and Ruxmi Premji Vaghjihani, of Indian origin from Kenya, have drowned in a tragic accident this past weekend after their car ran off the road in Aveley lake, Perth.
The young women are believed to have been on their way to work at a nearby deli when the accident took place in the early hours of Sunday, 11 September.
First responders say the girls tried to get out of their sinking Toyota Corolla but were unable to break the windows. Passers-by attempted to help the girls by swimming into the lake with a spanner to break the windows, but it was too late.
It is understood the girls, both 20 years old, were nursing students at Edith Cowan University.
A vigil was held that evening and was attended by around 100 people. Arrangements are now underway for their bodies to be repatriated back to Kenya. They are remembered as cheerful, friendly individuals.
WA Police Inspector Craig Collins confirmed an investigation into the incident has begun.
“It‘s early stages of the investigation, we haven’t got anything other than we don’t believe there’s any other vehicle involved. I believe there were people that tried to assist – unfortunately, due to the location, tragically, it was very difficult,” he was quoted as saying.
The international students had moved to Perth in February this year and were living with Ruxmi’s aunt and uncle.
Ruxmi’s uncle KP Halai told 7News that they had called him from the sinking car for help, sounding understandably frightened.
“Nidhi called me and she just said ‘uncle, we are drowning, the car is going down’,” he was quoted as saying. “I told her on the phone ‘try to open the door or try to kick the glass’ […] they said the door cannot be opened.”
It is unclear who was driving the vehicle, however family friends of the victims have ruled out drugs or alcohol being involved.
Investigators are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with vision to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.