CEO of US tech company killed, president critically hurt during anniversary party freak accident

 January 22, 2024

A U.S. tech company CEO was killed and its president critically injured during an anniversary party at Ramaji Film City (RFC) in Hyderabad, India, when a freak accident occurred that led to the pair falling 15 feet onto concrete.

CEO of Vistex Asia-Pacific Private Ltd. Sanjay Shah, 56, was killed after he and President Vishwanath Raju Datla fell 15 feet from a cage that was lowering them down to the concrete dais in a dramatic stunt for the company's silver jubilee.

A cable that was suspending the cage broke, the cage tipped onto its side, and the two men fell out and dropped to the stage. The cage had bars on three sides, but one side was open for the men to enter. They fell through the open side when the cable broke.

Shah died at a local hospital and Raju remains hospitalized.

A tragic accident

Watch video footage of the accident below.

“Shah and Raju being lowered from the cage onto the dais was a planned event to kickstart the celebrations,” a company official said. The pair were seen waving at their guests as the cage began to lower.

The celebration was planned to last two days and company personnel had rooms booked at the event location.

Charges filed

A number of personnel from the event center have now been charged with causing death by a rash or negligent act and 336 endangering human life or personal safety of others, the Times of India reported.

RFC management, its senior event manager, the chief manager, (security), the contractor for special effects, and the rope operator were among those charged.

Vistex is involved in revenue and margin improvement for companies like Coca Cola, GE, Dow, Dell, Siemens, Adobe, Kellogg’s, Abbott, Bayer, Yamaha, Sony, Nvidia, Kimberly Clark, HP, Cisco, Apple, and Walmart, among others. It has revenue of $300 million annually.

The company has offices across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America. There is also an office in Hyderabad where the accident happened.

Shah's philanthropy

Shah was a philanthropist who was born in Mumbai but came to the U.S. to attend Lehigh University, to which he donated $5 million to establish the Vistex Institute for Executive Education at the school in 2017.

He also established the Vistex Foundation, which gives grants to nonprofits focusing on health, education and basic needs programming.

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