Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, October 29
Family outing in the form of ‘vanabhojanam’ (feast in the forest), normally observed a day after Dussehra, turned into a tragedy when six teenagers drowned in a swollen Pedda Vagu rivulet in West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh.
All deceased were accompanied by their families and had gone swimming on the sidelines of a community lunch. Normally, the rivulet is just about two feet deep, but because of the recent rain and floods, the water had risen to 10 feet. Unsuspecting the raised water levels, the children tried to swim, but unfortunately drowned, said the police.
The deceased have been identified as Gangadhara Venkata Rao (16), Siramula Sivaji (16), Koonavarapu Radhakrishna (15), Gottuparthi Manoj (16), Karnati Ranjith (15) and Kella Sai (16). All of them were natives of nearby Bhudevipeta.
Police said, “Around 10.30 am, while the families were engaged in cooking food, the boys went swimming in the area where the water was deep, estimated to be about 10-15 feet and 50 feet wide. As a deep hole got formed one of the boys slipped into it. His friend who was holding him, too, got swept away. Likewise, all of the friends holding their hands like a chain were washed away”.
Once some onlookers alerted the families and the police, a search was initiated with the help of expert swimmers, but they could only retrieve the bodies.
The bodies were handed over to their families after conducting the autopsy.
The Andhra Pradesh Government has announced Rs 3 lakh ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.