Picnic turns tragic as 5 drown in Mangalore, 4 in Gaganachukki

Phalguni victims could not swim well; families did not know about excursion

Picnic turns tragic as 5 drown  in Mangalore, 4 in Gaganachukki

The Sunday picnic turned tragic for two groups of sightseers. While five teenagers drowned in Phalguni river near Dambel in Mangalore, four more people, including two brothers, were washed away in the Gaganachukki waterfall in Chamarajanagar district.

Khalander (17), Rakshith (16), Yakshith (14), Prajwal (14) and Rajesh (17) drowned in Phalguni river.

The bodies of Prajwal and Khalander have been fished out whereas the fire brigade personnel and divers are searching for the other three bodies, police said.

The victims’ friends — Dhanush, Marimuthu and Jagadish — just about managed to stay out of the watery grave.

All the youth were neighbours in Kodikal Katte. After lunch, they played in the neighbourhood before leaving for an excursion at Phalguni river, about one-and-a-half km away. None of them could swim well. They were trying to dive in when they water washed them away, local residents said.

Dhanush said that he, along with Marimuthu and Jagadish, had stayed out of the water. “We were playing on the river banks even as the other five set out to play in water,” Dhanush recounted to Deccan Herald.

“Rakshith drowned first. The other four then rushed to his rescue but were in turn washed away by the choppy water.”

Dhanush further said that the three of them then ran to the row of huts on the river banks and alerted them the inhabitants.

Rakshith was a class 10 student and the only son of his parents. His father had passed away.

Yakshith, also the only son of his parents, and Prajwal were in class 9 at Ganapathy High School, Mangalore.

Rajesh worked as a carpenter and Khalander as a daily wage labourer, local residents said.

A pall of gloom descended on Kodikal Katte as soon as the family received the news. There were heartrending scenes as parents made frantic searches for the bodies of their wards. None of the teenagers had not informed their parents before leaving for the excursion. Police have booked a case.

4 washed away

In the Gaganachukki falls, Chandrakanth (24) of Honganur in Chamarajanagar taluk, and Vasanth (19) and Hemanth (17) from Kestur village in Yelandur taluk of Chamarajanagar district were washed away after being caught in a whirlpool while swimming. Ayesha from K G Halli, Bangalore, slipped in the water as she walked on the slushy path.

Vasanth, a first-year BA student at government college in Yelandur, was first caught in the whirlpool. His brother Hemanth and Chandrakanth, who went to his rescue, drowned along with him, police said.

Ayesha had come to the waterfall with her family after visiting a nearby dargah. The family came from behind the dargah building where work on installing railings to enable people watch the waterfall is left incomplete. Walking on the slushy path, Ayesha slipped and fell into the waterfall, the police added.

Personnel of the Fire and Emergency Services are searching for the bodies.

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