VIJAYAWADA/GUNTUR: Treacherous pits gouged out of the river bed of the Krishna by sand miners claimed the lives of five college students near Gidugu village in Amaravati mandal on Tuesday. They waded into the river thinking it to be no more than knee high but were sucked into a pit by a whirlpool formed due to sand excavation.
The youngsters were in a group of 11 students from a Nandigama private college who went to Yetur village in Chandarlapadu mandal on their bikes for an outing on the riverside. They hired a boat to go over to the other bank on the Guntur side to bathe. The river is more than a mile wide at this spot and the water is shallow enough to wade over.
But the release of water from the Pulichintala reservoir for the benefit of Pushkaram pilgrims rendered the water level high and the sand mining pits invisible. Unaware of the depth at some places, the youngsters swam too close to the pits and were sucked in by the current. Police officials rushed to the spot upon being alerted, and summoned expert swimmers and motorboats to search for the boys. By evening, the five bodies were brought out of the river. The victims were all final year students of B.Com.