THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The bodies of five tourists from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, who were missing in the sea off Pozhiyoor here on Saturday evening, were recovered on Sunday morning.
They have been identified as Thayuba, 34 and her three daughters - Sabura(13), Marsooka(14) and Fathima(12); and her nephew Sohail (14). The bodies of Sabura and Sohail were spotted at the sea off Pozhikkara near here at around 1.30 a.m. by the coastal police and Fire and Rescue Services. The other three bodies were found at Kollemcode coast along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border by 5 a.m. The five bodies could be brought to the shore only by 10 am owing to heavy rain and rough seas.
According to Pozhiyoor police, the three bodies recovered at Kollemcode were initially examined by Tamil Nadu (Kollemcode) police and later handed over to Pozhiyoor and coastal police citing the procedural delay in conducting autopsy there. “All the bodies have been taken for post- mortem examination at the Medical College Hospital here after completing the inquest. The relatives of the deceased have arrived here and the bodies will be handed over to them soon after the autopsy,’’ said a police official.
The 20-member family tour group came from Melapalayam in Tirunelveli visited the beach and took two boats to go to the nearby lagoon at around 5.30 p.m. after meeting a family friend residing at Poovar. Without knowing that the estuary mouth was broken due to heavy rain, the five tried to get down from the boat for washing their legs. Soon after, they were swept away by strong undercurrents triggered by heavy rainfall.
Unauthorised Boat Services Rampant
Unauthorised boat services are quite rampant at Pozhiyoor and Poovar areas and it is being cited as the reason for the incident. Subsequently, protests mounted at Pozhiyoor on Sunday against the unauthorised boating through lagoon and Neyyar river. “Unauthorised boat services are rampant here and it has become a threat to tourists. It is learnt that the major chunk of boats had not obtained any licence for the same. Moreover, the trips are conducted even during heavy rains and at the time when the estuary mouth remains broken,’’ said Prakash, a local resident.