Adelaide siblings orphaned after horror car crash in India claimed the lives of parents

Two South Australian children have been left orphans after their parents died in a horror car crash soon after arriving in India.

Hemambaradhar “Hems” Peddagamalla and Rama Batthula were killed when their taxi crashed near Hyderabad last Tuesday night.

The couple died at the scene, while their two children, aged six and nine, suffered severe leg injuries and remain in hospital.

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The Telugu Association of South Australia’s president Sivaji Pathuri told the trip had been the Adelaide family’s first opportunity to visit relatives since Batthula’s father died, due to travel restrictions.

“She went there with the family to pay respects to her father but they didn’t even reach their final destination –they get off the flight and did some shopping, (caught) a taxi and they were on their way home and it happened, ”He said.

Hemambaradhar’Hems’ Peddagamalla, Rama Batthula and their two children. Credit: Supplied

Pathuri said a doctor, who is a member of the association, was already on holiday in India and had traveled to be with the children, both of whom are recovering well and in good spirits.

“They spent time with the kids, they were really happy after seeing them and they also saw all the reports, how they’re progressing, and spoke to the surgeon,” he said.

“It’s only now sinking in, but… we’ve got to bring them back, that’s what we’re working towards.”

He said the boy is also yet to be told of his parents’ deaths, adding: “We haven’t spoken to him about anything, but he has been saying,’I want to go home, I’m feeling bored here and I want to see mum and dad’. ”

Community support

Pathuri said the “lovely couple” were a huge part of the local community, volunteered in the association and were involved in committees, meetings, cultural activities and fundraising activities.

“He is really involved in the community… there is not a single community event without him,” he said of Hems, while Batthula also worked in child protection and volunteered at the association’s language school.

A fundraiser has so far raised more than $ 210,000 to go towards the children’s medical costs and their parents’ funeral expenses.

“I would like to thank every community member who donated generously. It is not possible without their support, no matter what we do, it’s not possible without the community support,” Pathuri said.

It is hoped the children will return to Australia to begin rehabilitation, with some concerned they are not safe in India on their own.

Their grandparents are expected to lodge visa applications for permanent residence in Australia in the coming days. has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for comment.


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