In a tragic incident in Mumbai, India, a mother, and her young son from Aberdeen lost their lives in a fire on Monday (23). Dr Glory Valthaty, 43, and her eight-year-old son, Joshua, were visiting relatives when the building they were staying in (Veena Santoor) became enveloped in fire and smoke.
Dr Valthaty’s husband Noel Roberts and daughter were also on holiday but fortunately managed to escape the fire.
Joshua was a beloved student at Aberdeen’s Kaimhill School, which he had joined in 2020. According to headteacher Susie Webster who expressed deep sadness over the death of Joshua and his mum, Glory said that the boy was a “much-loved” member of his class.
Dr Valthaty was listed as a director of the Dundee-registered business Faith Project Consultants, which supports activities related to petroleum and natural gas extraction.
She also worked as an anaesthetist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and lived in the Garthdee area of the city, The Times reported.
The family was staying in a flat owned by Dr Valthaty’s brother, Paul Valthaty, 39, a former Indian Premier League (IPL) cricketer for Kings XI Punjab, in the Kandivali area of Mumbai.
The family were visiting Glory’s sick mother and it was the first time they had travelled to India in some years.
The fire broke out in the kitchen of a first-floor flat while the family was in Paul Valthaty’s home on the fourth floor.
Roberts’s cousin, Gladsten Behra, said that the family were visiting Mumbai for two weeks to see Glory’s mother.
“Just as they reached the first floor, they realised that a fire had broken out,” Behra said.
“Noel stayed back with Glory’s parents, as her mother needed assistance, and asked her to take the children and the two workers up to the terrace.”
They apparently decided to turn down the stairs to escape instead. “All of them were found unconscious on the first floor by the rescue team,” he added.
It is understood that the fire spread from the first floor to upper floors from electrical units on the outside of the building.
Glory and Joshua were said to have become trapped near the first floor while trying to escape. They were both pronounced dead on arrival at Shatabdi Hospital.
According to a Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office spokesperson they are providing consular assistance to the bereaved family.
Dr Valthaty had previously worked with NHS Grampian during her anaesthetics training. Friends and community members mourned the loss of Glory and her son, remembering her as a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, and doctor.