New Orleans Devotee Accident Report

 

Saturday, August 20, 2005

 

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krsna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Guru and Gauranga.

I would like to apologize for this late information on the recent crash that took place in El Paso, Texas, involving seven New Orleans temple devotees. I feel obligated to let everyone know what really happened and update you with the latest news.

I first heard the news on August 28th at 3 PM, when I walked into the New Orleans temple office. The time of the crash was approximately 11:30 that morning. Yogindra Prabhu, Makhanchor, Sarvajaya, Gaura Krsna and I immediately made preparations to leave, and we were in El Paso within 24 hours. It was a tedious 20-hour drive.

Sarvajaya Prabhu was kind enough to let us use his American Express card for the immediate expenses. We arrived shocked and devastated, but we knew it was up to us to sort things out. We attended to one person at a time, since there were seven devotees involved.

Our beloved Mani Bandha Prabhu died at the accident scene. There were eyewitnesses to the accident, a retired man and his son who helped to call the ambulance. The man picked Mani Bandha up, laid him on his lap, gave him water and prayed over him while he passed away. Mani is the only child of his widowed mother in Bangladesh. We are still trying to collect $1,000 to send to her.

Divya Ratna and five devotees from Dallas were the next to arrive to help with the accident. I am very grateful to them for their kind service. Sarvajaya Prabhu was responsible for long night driving. Bir Krsna Maharaja was very concerned; he called the most, giving guidance and emotional support. Makhanchor Prabhu was our driver and responsible for all US devotee communication. Yogindra Prabhu constantly stayed on top of insurance, financial, medical and administration. We slept and ate little. Gaura Krsna Prabhu was our cook, making prasadam for everyone once a day and handling India communications. And myself, seeing to the devotees’ needs and keeping all going smoothly.

We want to thank Caitanya Chandra Prabhu, who arranged our accommodations in El Paso before we arrived. A small hotel owned by a Gujarati family allowed us to stay for a week. A lot of devotees called while we were in El Paso. Some we answered; many we could not. I apologize for that, since I know you’re concerned and very supportive.

We performed Mani’s funeral and cremation on August 11th, and got four devotees released from the hospital. We flew one devotee out from New Orleans to take over caring for the two devotees still in ICU. He returned on Friday. I am going to El Paso on Sunday, August 21, with Lalita Praneshwar Prabhu, and will leave him there to watch over the devotees in the hospital for another three weeks. I communicate with both devotees’ doctors daily.

Progress in these devotees’ cases is very slow. I will try to update the reports on their progress every week. Antaratma had surgery on both broken ankles, neck surgery, and his back needs surgery. He is gaining consciousness slowly. Saci is a lot more conscious. He had stomach surgery, brain strokes, and is still in a lot of pain.

Please continue to pray for them. And please donate your time or laxmi to help us take care of them. I want to thank all the devotees who covered my service and did a lot to keep New Talavan going when we left, and are still helping out. Special thanks to the New Orleans devotees who stayed back to help and support our efforts.

My special thanks to all the donors, especially the anonymous donor from Alachua who contributed $5,000, you are a mahatma. May good karma bless you and your family, and all the other donors. Please continue to donate; a breakdown of all donations and expenses follows. I promise to keep in touch with weekly updates.

Hare Krsna and please pray for success in our long journey. We will be leaving on Sunday. For more details on the accidents, you can call Yogindra at (601) 749-9460, or visit the New Orleans website at www.iskcon-nola.us. We have set up a special PayPal account to receive donations. You can send PayPal donations to devotee-relief@iskcon-nola.us. Checks can be sent to ISKCON New Talavan, 31492 Anner Rd., Carriere, MS 39426.

Your humble servant,

Tulasi Maharani-devi dasi

 

The devotees’ current condition:

Name

Condition

Comments

Mani Bandha

Fatality

Survived by mother in Bangladesh

Saci Dulal

In coma, very serious internal injuries

In Thomason Hospital

Antaratma

In ICU—neck & spinal injury, plus broken legs, fractured hip & feet, lungs collapsed

In Beaumont Army Hospital

Divya Gopal

Broken collarbone & cheekbone, bruises & trauma

In New Orleans

Topi

Broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder, lower back trauma

In New Orleans

Uttama

Broken & fractured leg

In Atlanta

Mathura

100 staples in scalp, ear sewn up, neck and general psychological trauma

In New Orleans

 

Fundraising report to date:

Donations

 

Expenses

Anonymous (Alachua)

$5,000

El Paso trip 5 devotees

$2,955

Mother Mohanasini

$662

Funeral & Cremation

$1,300

Devala Rsi Prabhu

$500

2nd trip Airfare

$490

Tikia Consulting Group

$450

2nd trip expenses

$260

Ananda Subramaniam

$300

Hospital bed rental

$324

Dhruva Prabhu

$250

Phone calls

$380

Drumila Prabhu

$162

Medevac Helicopter x4

$10,280

Suman Bannerji

$150

 

 

Bonnie Hamdi

$108

TOTAL

$15,984

Rama Bhattacharya

$101

Note: These are very preliminary figures for out-of-pocket expenses only. We do not yet know how much the medical bills for any of the devotees will be, or how much of that will be paid by insurance, if any. The medical costs are already well over $100,000 and climbing every day. We also need to send and maintain at least one devotee in El Paso to care for the devotees in the hospital until the situation is resolved.

Menati Biswas

$101

Amal Bhakta Prabhu

$50

ISKCON New Mathura

$50

Mallika Narasimha

$50

Madhusudan Prabhu

$50

 

 

TOTAL

$7,984

Additional Notes: $151 was donated to Mani’s mother so far. Yogindra Prabhu is managing this fund. Please send any contributions for this fund directly to him at New Talavan.

This report will be updated weekly and will appear on our temple websites:

New Talavan website: www.newtalavana.org

New Orleans website: www.iskcon-nola.us