Five persons drowned in three separate incidents at Navi Mumbai, Palghar and Thane as incessant rain lashed the region since Friday. While five bodies have been recovered, another person feared dead in Navi Mumbai is yet to be traced.
The first incident took place when a group of seven girl students from SIES College, Nerul, visited the raging waterfall at Driving Range near Golf Course at Khargar in Navi Mumbai. The police said the girls were part of a group that had come for a picnic in the morning. “They had attended a few lectures at the college and then come here. They went trekking but got stuck. On their way back, four girls were swept away,” said the officer. Follow LIVE updates
The girls have been identified as Neha Jain, Neha Dama, Shweta Nand and Arti Nayak. “The body of Neha Dama is yet to be found. They were all were first-year students in the age group of 18 to 19 years,” an officer said.
A banner put up by the police near the waterfall bars people from entering the spot.
According to eyewitness Rajkumar Rai, who sells corn near the waterfall, the students were sitting near the water when suddenly a huge wave washed them away. The bodies were washed away in a stream that passes through the Golf Course and ends in a lake at Kharghar Central Park.
Around 7 pm, the fire brigade and police stopped the rescue operation since it was getting dark. The search for Dama will resume around 9 am on Sunday.
Rai and his friend saved three students before the authorities arrived at the spot. “While two girls and a boy were stuck in the rocks, four were washed away. They were calling for help but nobody knew what to do. I and my friend took a bamboo from a nearby shed and gave it to them to hold on. The force of the water was very strong. With the help of the bamboo, we managed to rescue the three who were stuck in the rocks,” Rai told The Indian Express.
The uncle of Neha Dama, Chandulal Hurbada, said: “Neha used to stay with her parents and younger sister. No one knows how they came here since she had left home in the morning for college.
Except Neha Jain, who lived in Chembur, the others were all residents of Navi Mumbai. “They didn’t know that there was a ban on visiting the waterfall,” said a friend.
In another incident, a 10-year-old boy, Sitaram Chowdhary, was washed away while returning home from school in Palghar on Friday evening. His body was found in another village on Saturday. “The boy is from Khudech and went to school in Sakhra. While coming home from school on Friday evening, he went missing. His parents approached the Vikramgadh police, which found him near Kunde pada,” said a senior officer from Palghar police.
“We have registered an accidental death report. But we are awaiting the postmortem report. Prima facie, he seems to have drowned,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man identified as Sumit Pant died in Thane after falling into a flowing nullah. “He was found near Diva on Saturday evening,” said an officer from the Thane disaster response force, which recovered the body. “The body has been sent for postmortem. Police are trying to contact his family,” he added.