THOOTHUKUDI: The Aadi festival at Vedanatham village in Thoothukudi district ended in tears as four children aged 6-9 suffocated to death inside a car on Wednesday.
The deceased have been identified as Isakiammal (8), daughter of Kanniappan, Muthazhagu (9), daughter of Anthonysamy, Adhi Sivan (6), son of Pongalraj, and Moses (6), son of Sankar.
The four had visited the village to witness the Aadi festival at Isakkiamman Temple on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, they were playing in a private plot adjacent to the temple in which old cars seized due to non-payment of loan dues were parked. They had gone to play in the morning and since they did not come back for a long time, Kanniappan and other relatives started searching for them but could not find them in the village. Ajitha, Muthazhagu’s sister, had reportedly seen them playing near a Hyundai Accent car. Around 1 pm, she opened the car door and found them dead with foam ensuing from their mouths. She immediately informed Kanniappan. Police were informed and they rushed to the spot. They recovered the bodies and sent them to Thoothukudi GH for autopsy.
The investigating officer said that preliminary investigation revealed that the four children died due to suffocation. “An expert team also examined the vehicle to check for any poisonous gas leak. A detailed report will be submitted on Thursday,” said the police officer.
One of the kids, Moses, was sitting in the driver’s seat with hands on the steering wheel, said a teary-eyed Kanniappan. The little ones’ struggle for air was evident from hand and leg prints on the windows of the car.
A resident in the area, Boopesh, claimed that the car had been parked there for four years. He added that the main gate of the plot was not locked and so the kids entered easily.