Kalyan resident Naresh Patil frequently visits Powai, but it was his first time on a boat in the lake. “I was invited by Dinesh Bhoir and I met him and the others at Ganesh Ghat on Friday night. It was a new experience for me,” Patil said. Sitting next to Dinesh and Rasool Khan on the boat, Patil remembers hearing the quietness interrupted by a thud that came from the bottom of their speeding boat before it capsized.
“After I fell into the water, I began to swim. I couldn’t see as it was very dark, but I swam towards shouts of help that I could hear. Within a few minutes, I was on the shore, but couldn’t see the others,” said Patil, one of the five survivors of the boat accident that claimed three lives. Patil said that Dinesh had contacted him around 8 pm on Friday, inviting him to a “boat” that Rasool had organised. Dinesh had also contacted Deepak, Kunal and Paresh. “We entered the boat from Ganesh Ghat. At that time, there were six of us. We went to a platform in the middle of the lake but left shortly to pick Paresh and Kunal from Ganesh Ghat,” Naresh said.
“After they joined us, the boat suddenly picked up pace as we wanted to see how fast it could go,” he added. Naresh remembers swimming ashore and spotting Deepak, who too had managed to swim to Ganesh Ghat. “When the locals threw light on the water, we saw three people holding onto the severely damaged boat. Rasool was swimming towards us, but then turned and went underwater probably in search of his nephew Atif. Both of them never resurfaced,” Naresh said.
He also remembers seeing some more people on the illegal platform, but claimed he did not know them. Investigators have said that besides the eight people in the boat, there were eight more people on the platform. A boat from the nearby Maharashtra State Angling Association went to the platform and in two trips got all the eight people ashore. The personal details of these other eight persons are being inquired into by the Powai police station.