BELAGAVI: “A huge wave came by. We saw our friends, who were walking hand-in-hand, being swept into the sea by high waves, in a matter of seconds. What looked like fun, ended in tragedy,” recalled a student of Maratha Mandal Engineering College.
She was one of the eye-witnesses to the incident when seven students and a professor drowned in the sea at Wairy Bhutnath beach in Malavan on Saturday.
Vaibhavi (name changed) told Express that everything was going according to the plan from day one of the industrial tour. It was the last day of the tour when the unpredictable sea gulped her friends while she along with others stood watching, she said. When Prof Mahesh Kuduchkar and fellow student Avdoot Tahashildar tried to help, they too disappeared into the sea, she added.
Vaibhavi admitted that the fishermen at the beach had warned them not to enter the sea due to high tides.
She said all the 47 students and two faculty members were enjoying on the beach when a group of 10 students decided to go into the sea.
“They assured that they will not go deep and held each others hands tight while entering the sea. They asked Poonam Chavan, older sister of deceased Anjali Chavan, to accompany them, but she refused. They had hardly gone a little deep, when a huge wave pulled them all inside,” she said. Vaibhavi said that for a few seconds everyone at the beach stood stunned watching the scene.
Prof Kuduchkar and student Avdoot Tashildar, who tried to save the students from drowning, succeeded in pulling out three students, of whom Akansha Ghatge is critical and undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Malavan.
But the duo disappeared into the sea. The students ran for help. A few fishermen immediately pulled out their small boats and entered the sea. They could fish out six bodies immediately. However, it took a little time to trace the other two bodies, she added.
The locals and district administration rushed to the spot and shifted the rest of the students and a woman faculty member to a lodge.
The injured were rushed to a hospital and the authorities concerned in Belagavi were informed about the incident.
The Sindhudurg district administration completed the necessary legal procedures immediately and facilitated four ambulances to carry the eight bodies to Belagavi.