Belagavi: An assistant professor and seven students on a study tour from a college in Belagavi drowned off Maharashtra coast on Saturday.
Three of those dead are girls. The condition of three other students is said to be serious. The group, from the Maratha Mandal Engineering College, was at Vayari beach at Malvan in Sindhudurg district when tragedy struck.
The students had ventured into the Arabian Sea, ignoring warnings by fishermen about treacherous currents and choppy tidal waves. They also ignored signboards warning people not to swim at the beach. The students got into the sea near Vayari Bhutnath village. Eight of them were washed away around 12 noon.
Eleven of the 47, who arrived at Sindhudurg, were trapped by tidal waves. Sindhudurg SP Amogh Gaonkar said those rescued were being treated at a government hospital in Oros.
Police said the incident occurred at high tide when students had ventured some distance into the water. “When some began drowning, others rushed to save them. But it was too late, and they got trapped as well,” a policeman said.
Locals said about a dozen students swam back to safety, but eight could not make it. “We warned them about the high tide, but they didn’t heed us,” a fisherman said.
Local fishermen jumped into the water and dragged three students to safety. A local parasailing and scuba diving guide rushed his boat to the rescue site. The students were on an industrial tour to Pune and they took a break at Sindhudurg on their way back to Belagavi. The college had given permission for the students of the electronics and communication engineering course to visit Pune and study the working of some companies.
A total of 47 students, accompanied by assistant professor Mahesh Kuduchakar and other staff, had left for Pune on Wednesday evening. MMEC staff heard from Sindhudurg police about the deaths and scrambled to gather details.
Basavaraj Tigadi, head of the department of electronics and communication engineering, said the college was not aware of the picnic in Malvan.
“Students deviated from the itinerary and it resulted in a tragedy,” he said. Maratha Mandal president Rajashree Nagaraj said the students took advantage of a holiday in the middle of the week for the picnic, and had not told their parents about it. Kuduchakar was an alumnus of MMEC.
After completing his BE?in electronics and communication engineering, he had done an MTech in VLSI design from KLE College of Engineering, and later joined the faculty of his college.
As a student, he always completed his projects on time. He inspired his students to take up novel projects.
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