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Indian Embassy in Russia issues advisory for students after 4 students drown in river near St Petersburg

The embassy urged students in Russia to be 'extremely careful while going to beaches, lakes, rivers, ponds and other water bodies'.
Last Updated : 07 June 2024, 16:28 IST
Last Updated : 07 June 2024, 16:28 IST

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Following an incident where four Indian medical students drowned when they entered a fast-flowing river near St Petersburg in Russia, authorities the Indian embassy issued an advisory to the students to be "extremely careful" while going to the beaches, rivers, lakes, ponds and other water bodies.

In the worst tragedy to hit the Indian student community in Russia, four students from Maharashtra - Harshal Anantrao Desale, Jishan Ashpak Pinjari, Jia Firoj Pinjari and Malik Gulamgous Mohammad Yakub - drowned in the Volkhov River.

They were studying at the Novgorod State University in Veliky Novgorod city.

A fifth student, Nisha Bhupesh Sonawane, was rescued.

The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi termed it as an unfortunate incident.

"Four Indian students who were studying at the Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University located in Veliky Novgorod, Russia, drowned in an unfortunate incident in the Volkhov river. In the incident, a fifth Indian student was saved from drowning and is presently receiving medical attention," it said.

Local emergency services have so far recovered two dead bodies from the Volkhov River. The search for the remaining two missing students continues.

Local media reports said that the students drowned as they tried to save one of their female friends. They all were aged 18-20.

The tragedy has prompted the Indian embassy here to issue an advisory to the students.

"Unfortunate incidents of drowning of Indian students in Russia are taking place from time to time. In such incidents this year so far, four Indian students have lost their lives. In the year 2023 there were two incidents and in 2022, there were six cases of death of Indian students by drowning," the embassy said on Friday.

"The Embassy, therefore, urges Indian students in Russia to be extremely careful while going to beaches, rivers, lakes, ponds and other water bodies. Students are advised to take all necessary precautions and safety measures in this regard," it added.

Two of the four students, Jishan and Jia, were siblings. They hailed from Amalner in the Jalgaon district. Harshal Desale belonged to Bhadgaon, also in the Jalgaon district.

Jalgaon district collector Ayush Prasad said arrangements are being made to bring the bodies to India.

"We are working to send the bodies to the relatives as soon as possible. Proper treatment is also being provided to the student whose life has been saved," the Embassy of India in Moscow said on X.

The Consulate General of India in St Petersburg said these students were pursuing medical education at Veliky Novgorod State University.

"Sincere condolences to the bereaved families," it posted on X.

The Consulate General said it was working together with the local authorities of Veliky Novgorod to send the mortal remains to the relatives as soon as possible. "The bereaved families have been contacted and assured of all the possible help," it said.

A family member told local media: "When they entered the Volkhov River, Jishan made a video call to his family. His father and other family members were pleading with Jishan and others to come out of the river waters when a strong wave swept them away.”

In a message to the Indian envoy to Russia, the administration of Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University has expressed condolences over the tragedy.

“The students were taking a walk near the city's beach along the Volkhov River, in the evening, during their study-free time. The tragedy was accidental and unexpected. Nisha Bhupesh Sonawane survived. Now she is under the care of medical staff,” a university official said.

The university's representatives are monitoring her state closely and doing everything possible to help her, he added.

“The university informed the parents immediately and is currently working closely with all respective agencies in the Russian Federation,” he said. The university has requested the Indian envoy for assistance in repatriation of the students' bodies to India, he added.

In June last year, two final-year MBBS students from Kerala drowned in a lake in Russia. They were studying at Smolensk State Medical University.

Indian students study medicine across Russia. There are around 25,000 Indian nationals of which a majority are Indian students studying medicine, the Indian embassy said, quoting the latest data.

There are also Indian students studying engineering, economics, sciences and other subjects in other universities.

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Published 07 June 2024, 16:28 IST

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