Four Class IX students who allegedly went for a swim in the Yamuna drowned on Sunday. Police said the incident took place near outer Delhi’s Alipur. According to police, the four have been identified as Ankit (13), Aditya (14), Lalit (13) and Nitin (14). Ankit and Aditya were cousins. While the bodies of Ankit and Lalit were recovered in the morning, the bodies of Aditya and Nitin were not found despite a nearly 12-hour search in Alipur’s Palla village.
“We got a call around 7.30 am that four boys had drowned in the river. Two of our boats, which were already stationed in the area, were put into immediate action. We also deployed 23 divers. We recovered the first two bodies within an hour, but we’re facing difficulties in finding the other bodies because of the rapid current at the spot. Plus, the water is also around 25 feet deep,” said Harish Kumar, the in charge of Boat Club — a Delhi government body responsible for rescue work in the Yamuna.
Police said the boys studied in Amar Shiksha Sadan Senior Secondary School in Sonipat, and were allegedly accompanied by three other students.
“Local police, the fire brigade, a disaster management team with nine divers, and a motor boat reached the spot to carry out search and rescue operations,” said a senior police officer. According to the families, the boys did not tell them they were going swimming.
“Last night, Nitin told me to wake him up at 5 am as he needed to go to the nearby stadium for sports practice with his friends. I woke him up early. Around 8.30 am, I got a call from a policeman asking me where my son was. When I told him he was at the stadium, he said that an incident had occurred near the Yamuna river bank and I should get there as soon as possible. If I had any idea that he was going to swim in the river, I would have never let him go,” said Shri Pal, Nitin’s father, who runs a car spare parts shop.
Ranbir Singh, a retired SI of Delhi Police and uncle of Ankit and Aditya, said the boys had lied at home: “They had told their parents that they were going to the stadium nearby. We had no inkling they had gone to swim.”
The rescue operation went on till 8.30 pm and is set to resume on Monday. However, National Disaster Response Force Commandant P K Srivastava said the chances of recovering the other two bodies were “bleak”.
“The current at the spot is very rapid… It is likely that the bodies would have been carried away. The under current is also rapid. We deployed 12 personnel, including two boats and four divers, as soon as we were informed about the incident around 12 pm — which was quite late. In such cases, the possibility of rescue becomes minimum. However, we will try again tomorrow,” Srivastava said.