The drowning deaths of three people at Velankanni beach on Monday overshadowed New Year festivities even as volunteer life guards, who saved 7 others on the same day, said that tourists often ignored their warnings.
Murugan (54) and his daughter Sathya (22), who were part of a 40-member tour group from Coimbatore, went missing after stepping into the sea on Monday evening. Rescue teams searched in vain for their bodies, which were washed ashore late at night. The third victim, Jamuna (36), from Kolar in Karnataka, had come to the town with 100 others after visiting various temples. She was caught in a high tide at sea and died after being taken to the Vailankanni primary health centre.
The Velankanni beach has become a virtual deathtrap with frequent drowning incidents. The sea is usually very rough with strong undercurrents.
Dr P Anthony Franklin Jeyaraj, founder of Vailankanni Helping Hands, a voluntary organisation providing life guards at the beach, pointed out “We saved 7 persons on Monday alone.”
Local residents have sought the deployment of more police personnel at the beach.