23 Jan 2009

Brothers killed by glacier 'role models who loved life'

10:05 pm on 23 January 2009

Two Melbourne brothers killed under tonnes of glacier ice in New Zealand have been remembered at their funeral as role models who loved life.

More than 700 people packed St Peters Catholic Church in East Bentleigh on Friday.

Ashish Miranda, 24, and his brother Akshay Miranda, 22, died after walking beyond warning signs at Fox Glacier on the West Coast of the South Island on 8 January.

The brothers were holidaying with parents Ronald and Winnie Miranda, as part of a celebration of the couple's 25th wedding anniversary.

The body of Ashish was recovered immediately, but the Akshay's body was buried under tonnes of ice and was found last week 10km downstream from the glacier.

Mr and Mrs Miranda told the service they were heartbroken that their sons were taken in the prime of their lives.

The booklet handed out at the service featured the last photo take of the brothers as they walked side by side towards the glacier.

The coffins were draped in a white cloth, and adorned with bouquets of flowers.

"I cannot think of any more fitting role models than the hard-working and gracious Ashish and Akshay," their uncle Cedric Miranda told mourners.

"They have not only touched but entered into and remain in the lives, minds and hearts of all who knew them."

Jason Mendonsa, a close friend of Ashish, said his mate, who worked as an aerospace engineer for Boeing, lived life with passion.

"Ash, my mate, you always loved to fly. You wanted to be the best. Now you have your own angel wings, so come to visit us sometime," Mr Mendonsa said.

Daniel Unabia said Akshay was like a brother to him. "There are two things you should know about Akshay. One, he was an absolute laugh. And two ... Akshay was one of the most loyal friends you could ever meet."

Other friends of the men placed some favourite mementoes of the brothers around their coffins - Akshay's Manchester United scarf and cap, and Ashish's cricket ball and bat among other things.

Some mourners came from India and the United States to farewell the brothers.