Pictured: IT consultant Mano Rajan was one of four to survive the fatal M1 crash
A young girl fighting for her life has been orphaned after both of her parents were killed in the M1 horror crash on the way to the Eurostar to begin a dream family holiday.
Eight people were killed when a minibus was ‘squashed flat’ in a crash with a FedEx truck and a delivery lorry on the M1 at Newport Pangell yesterday morning.
Four people survived the crash including IT consultant Mano Rajan who moved to Nottingham just six months ago.
A five-year-old girl was also survived when she was pulled from the wreckage after being trapped in the destroyed minibus for more than an hour.
She is understood to have been visiting the UK from India with her parents who are family friends of Mr Rajan’s. Now the young girl is fighting for her life in hospital with no immediate relatives nearby.
The group were being driven from Nottingham down to the Channel Tunnel where they were due to board the train to Paris to start a month-long holiday in France.
Today a relative of one of those who died in what has been described as the worst motorway crash on British soil in 26 years has paid tribute to their loved one.
Mani Balasubramian lost his brother-in-law and his sister and husband in the crash.
But his own sister as well as his friend, who had recently moved to Nottingham, and his mother survived.
Eight people died after a minibus, pictured above, was ‘squashed flat’ after a crash with two lorries on the M1 yesterday
Tragically Mr Balasubramian revealed neither of the girl’s parents survived the crash, leaving her battling for her own life in hospital without any immediate relatives nearby.
He said the young girl was the daughter of a man named Vivek, a friend of Mr Manoranjan.
The five-year-old was trapped under the a seat for more than an hour until being rescued by firefighters and a passerby at the scene.
Speaking about the heartbreaking moment he heard the news, Mr Balasubramian, 54, said: ‘We learnt about the accident in the morning and were told a truck driver had lost control and suddenly slammed the brakes on and the minibus my relatives were in collided with it.
Bank Holiday horror: The smashed up cab of the FedEx lorry involved in a fatal crash being towed away from the scene on Saturday
‘My brother-in-law and his sister and her husband died. Luckily, my sister, nephew and his wife survived the crash but they are hospitalised.
‘Manoranjan had also asked his four friends, a couple Vivek and his wife and two other men. They all died but Vivek’s five-year-old daughter survived.
‘I am devastated with the loss of my brother-in-law and his relatives. They wanted to enjoy a nice week travelling across Europe but sadly, they met with a fatal accident.
‘But I am relieved that my sister and nephew and his wife are alive. I am told they have sustained severe injuries. They do not have any kids.’
He revealed the party had hired a minibus from ABC Travels – the owner who was named as the first victim of the tragedy as Cyriac Joseph, a father-of-two from Nottingham.
Pictured: Visible skid marks can be seen in the left-hand lane while the churned up verge shows where vehicles collided with the bank
Mr Balasubramian said: ‘They had hired a minibus from ABC Travels. I do not know if Manoranjan already knew the driver but he was from the same country and neighbouring state Kerala. We have learnt his wife is a nurse.
A director of a local news station in Chennai, India, Mr Balasubramin said his sister and her husband hey flew out to see his nephew Mano Ranjan on August 18.
Mano had moved to Nottingham six months before to work for technology firm Wipro as an IT consultant.
Two days after arriving the family made a last minute plan to tour France for a week, inviting with them two other family members and friends and Mano’s work friends.
The driver, Cyriac Joseph, who owned the minibus company, was killed in the collision taking an Indian family to the Eurostar to begin their dream holiday
Manoranjan, his wife Sangeetha and his mother Shri Valli survived the crash, but his father A Paneerselvan was killed.
Paneersevlan’s sister and her husband were also killed, along with two of Manoranjan’s colleagues, his friend Vivek and Vivek’s wife.
The only other survivor of the crash was Vivek’s five-year-old daughter, who was trapped under a seat for more than an hour until being rescued by firefighters.
Mani Balasubramian, 54, said: ‘My sister Shri Valli and her husband A Paneerselvan, a retired engineer and lecturer, left on August 18 to meet their son Mano.
‘My brother-in-law Paneerselvan also asked his sister Tamil Mani, 55, and her husband Arutchilvan to join them for the vacation. But they had left two or three days after and were supposed to stay for 10 days.’
Today a church service has been held for the minicab driver who was last night named as father-of-two Cyriac Joseph.
Known as Benny, he ran the minibus company ABC Travels based in Nottingham and was driving a bus load of It’s believed he was driving a bus load of passengers, many from India, from Nottingham to Wembley.
The Mass was held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church on Lenton Boulevard.
Speaking outside the family home before a church service, his bereaved son Benson Joseph said his father had booked the job to take the family visiting from India down to North London.
Benson said he missed his father ‘so much’ already as he heartbreakingly revealed he and his mother and sister had only just returned from holiday.
He said: ‘We had not seen dad for a while. He stayed home so he could keep running the company. That’s when he agreed to take these clients. We hardly saw him after we got back. I miss him so much already.’
A close friend of Cyriac, Manu Zacharia, said he picked up the clients close to his home at 1am before setting of on the journey to the Euro tunnel.
The father-of-two, who had studied botany in India, had been running his taxi business for four years after working for supermarket chains Morrisons and Asda, and would regularly make long distance trips.