Indian student who drowned in a lake at Texas, cremated

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A 24-year-old Indian student who died after he was rescued from a swollen lake in the hurricane-hit US state of Texas, has been cremated. Nikhil Bhatia, a PhD student at the Texas A&M University, was rescued from the Lake Bryan, where he along with Shalini Singh had gone swimming, last Saturday.

Bhatia, originally from Jaipur, along with Singh, 25, from New Delhi, was admitted to a hospital in a critical condition. Bhatia died in a hospital on Wednesday while Singh continues to be in a critical condition, according to officials at the Indian Consulate here.

Singh was pursuing Masters degree in public health from the same university. Funeral of Bhatia took place yesterday in the presence of his mother and close friends.

According to the consulate office, Bhatia’s mother Suman Bhatia will be leaving for India on September 4 and will carry his ashes with her. Bhatia, originally from Jaipur, had completed his schooling from Jaipur and did his engineering in Vellore.

He recently graduated from Texas A&M University in water management and hydrological science and had enrolled in a Phd programme for fall session. Bhatia was the only child of Suman, a lecturer in a government college, and Pradeep Bhatia, a defence staffer.

Around 13 million people were battling “catastrophic” flooding and torrential rains in the storm-ravaged Texas where Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc, claiming at least 47 lives. According to local community leaders, at least 100,000 of Indian-Americans live in and around Houston area have been badly hit by the hurricane.

India’s Consul-General in Houston Ray has been closely monitoring the situation. Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year period with no hurricanes of Category 3 intensity or higher making landfall in the US.

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