In two separate incidents of drowning at the Juhu beach,three teenagers lost their lives after they went for a swim with their friends. Only one body has been recovered so far and a search operation,involving Navy divers,is on.
The first incident was at Silver beach behind the Godrej bungalow. The Juhu police identified the two boys who drowned as Zuber Hussain (15) and Arbaaz Sayyed (17),both residents of a Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) building in Andheri (West). Hussains body washed ashore with the tide around 8 pm and was taken to the morgue of Cooper Hospital.
Hussain and Sayyed arrived at the beach around 1.45 pm with five other friends. The five friends were playing football on the beach,while the two boys went to swim and were soon seen struggling. Eyewitnesses immediately informed the police control and a mobile police van rushed to the spot, said an officer from the Juhu police station.
The second incident was at Birla lane beach behind Tulip Star Hotel where 17-year-old Aniket Eknath Ghawade,a resident of Vile Parle (East),was swimming with his six friends. Juhu police officers said the group reached the beach around 3.30 pm and half an hour later,Ghawades friends informed the police that he was seen drowning.
The lifeguard posted there had warned the group to come out of the water soon as it was time for high tide to set in. They stepped out for a while,but then slipped back into the sea,ignoring the lifeguards warnings, said an official from the Fire Department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Three fire brigades and four flood relief teams have been stationed at the spot,with six lifeguards and five deep sea Navy drivers conducting the search operation. While the rescue operations were going on,just a few feet away,visitors at the beach were seen dangerously dipping their feet in the sea during high tide despite warnings from the lifeguards.
Nine persons have drowned on the Juhu coastline in the past two months. The surge in the number of people at the Juhu beach has been a cause of worry for lifeguards stationed on the stretch. While there are six BMC lifeguards designated for the Juhu beach,four are present on the site at any given time as per the shift timings. Three more members of the Fire Brigades flood rescue team are stationed during weekends and high tide days.
P S Rahangdale,deputy chief fire officer in charge of beach safety,said at times it is difficult for the lifeguards to control youngsters,who often turn up drunk at the beach. This is a regular problem now. Around 15 days ago,a group of drunk youngsters beat up a lifeguard at the Silver beach for prohibiting them from entering the sea, he said.
In an affidavit filed in the Bombay High Court,former Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare had stated that of the citys eight beaches open to the public,only two are safe. Ironically,Juhu beach and Girgaum Chowpatty had been named as the safe beaches.