BELAGAVI: Eight people — seven students and a faculty member - of Maratha Mandal Engineering College of Belagavi drowned off Wayri beach of Malvan in southern Maharashtra on Saturday.
The incident occurred around 12.30 pm when about 30 students of the college were playing on the seashore despite being warned of high tides. The visiting team had 45 students and two faculty members.
Eyewitnesses said a large wave swept many of them into the sea. Local fishermen and life guards heard the distress calls and managed to pull out three students.
However, Mujmal Aniket, Kiran Khandekar, Arati Chavan, Avadoot, Naveen Muthyandakar, Karuna Barde, Maya Kolde and lecturer Mahesh Kudachkar could not be saved. The local fishermen and life guards pulled out the bodies of the deceased.
The three rescued students — Sanket Gavade, Anita Hanali and Akanksha Gavade — were shifted to a hospital but the condition of one of them is said to be critical.
The college in Belagavi was informed of the incident. But the parents of the students were merely told that the students were taken to a hospital after a “minor accident” on the beach. But their hopes shattered when they reached Malvan which is 145 km away from Belagavi.
The college management said the visit to the beach was “unofficial” as it was not on the itinerary of the team which had visited Pune on a study tour. The deceased students, all residents of Belagavi city and surroundings, were in the second semester. The team had left Belagavi on Thursday night and was supposed to return on Saturday night.
The Sindhudurgh police handed over the bodies of the students to their relatives on Saturday evening. The funeral will be held on Sunday, sources said. The injured students will be admitted to hospital in Belagavi, sources said.
Amogh Goankar, Superintendent of Police of Sindhudurg, said the students were warned against venturing into the beach because of the high tides.
“The locals informed me that the students were asked not to venture into the sea. The tragedy could have been avoided if precautions were taken. The area where the students drowned is less than six feet deep. But when the large wave came, the students were washed away,” he explained.