A picnic on the Ganga barrage involving a group of youths took a disastrous turn Wednesday as one of them slipped while trying to click a selfie and six others jumped after him in an attempt to save him.
All seven of them, aged under 21 years barring a 31-year-old, have been confirmed dead with police now assuaging aggrieved parents who have since been protesting against what they allege was “delay in response”.
Police said a group of 10 youths was picnicking at Kanpur’s Ganga barrage Wednesday morning when 19-year-old Shivam stepped into the water to take a selfie and slipped.
His brother Satyam (21) jumped after him and was soon followed by four of his friends. A local, Mohammmad Maqsood (31), too saw Shivam slipping on the rocks and jumped into the river.
All the friends jumped one after another but drowned in their attempt to save the others, Superintendent of Police (West) Sachindra Patel told The Indian Express. A team of divers recovered seven bodies from the waters after four hours, Patel said, adding that all were sent to Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital where doctors declared they were brought dead.
Police identified the four others among those dead as Sachin Gupta (21), Goli Tiwari (20), Rohit (20) and Golu Gupta (16). Those who survived include Vinay, Pradeep Kumar, Arjun and Shree Ram Kumar. All were residents of Vinoba Nagar under Juhi police station limits in Kanpur.
Relatives of the youths and local residents protested outside the hospital alleging delay in police response. Families claimed that ambulance did not reach the spot for over an hour after the accident was reported. Even the divers, they alleged, reached the spot after making repeated calls.
The matter will be investigated, SSP Shalabh Mathur said. “Youngsters who throng Ganga barrage in large numbers often risk their lives while bathing in the river. They go deep into the river and slip on the rocks. Before they can realise what went wrong on their part, they are caught in the swirls of Ganga,” the SSP said and cautioned youths against travelling deep, especially during monsoon.
In a similar incident, three students of Dr Ambedkar Institute of Technology for Handicapped (AITH) had drowned in Ganga on May 8 while taking selfies standing on a rock at the barrage. In another similar incident, three girls had fallen into the Arabian Sea while clicking selfies standing on a rock jutting out of the sea near Bandra Fort in Mumbai this January. A local youth who had jumped to save them had drowned in the attempt.