Vijayawada, Oct. 28 : In a tragic case, six teenagers drowned in a rivulet trying to save one another while crossing it at Vasanthavada village, Velerupadu mandal, West Godavari on Wednesday.
According to the police, a group of 40 families hailing from Bhudevipeta village of Velerupadu mandal arrived at Vasanthavada village located about four kilometres away, for a garden party, a tradition among the villagers for nearly seven to 10 years after Dasara festival.
At about 10.30 am, as the women were preparing food for ‘vana bhojanam,’ six youths crossed the rivulet called Peda vagu’ where the depth is about two feet and width is 50 feet to answer nature’s call.
While returning, they deviated from the earlier path and started to cross the water body where the water depth is estimated to be 10 to 15 feet and its bed slanted. Following heavy rains and floods in the last few days, the bed has deepened due to soil erosion, especially at a curve along the course of the water body.
As they started to cross the rivulet wading through the water one after another in a row, the first one slipped due to the slope in the bed and fell. To save him, another caught hold of his hand but he too slipped and fell. In just a few minutes, all the six teenagers fell in the water body and drowned. Sadly, none of them knew how to swim.
Though the family members tried to come to their rescue, it was too late.
As the local villagers alerted the police about the mishap, they plunged into action and took up a search operation involving swimmers and fished out all the six bodies by noon.
The deceased were identified as Gangadhara Venkata Rao, 16, Karnataka Renjith, 15, Gottiparthy Manoj, 16, Kunarapu Radha Krishna, 15, Kolla Bhuvan, 16 and Sriramula Sivaji, 16. Some were studying in Class X, others had completed it and the remaining were school dropouts.
West Godavari SP, K. Narayan Naik, said “The villagers arranged the vana mahotsav as part of their tradition to bring good tidings to the village near the water body. The deaths brought a tragic end to the festivities. We have handed the bodies over to their family members after completion of the inquest.”
The state government announced an ex gratia of Rs three lakh each for the families of all the six deceased youth.
Deputy chief minister, Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas, said that the Chief Minister, Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy was informed about the tragic deaths of the six youths. He assured all help to the bereaved family members and instructed the district administration to take all necessary steps to avoid recurrence of such mishaps.
The family members of the deceased were inconsolable....