Four children drowned in the Yamuna and the western Yamuna link canal during Ganesh Visarjan at three locations in the capital on Sunday.
While two kids drowned in the river at Sonia Vihar and one at Shastri Park, another boy was washed away in the link canal at Bawana. Till late in the evening, none of the bodies could be traced because of strong currents in the water due to monsoon rains.
Panic gripped the locals and family members of the boys who had drowned and the sites were cordoned off till late on Sunday. Fire officials said the first call was made from Bawana at 2.30pm, after which a police team and two fire tenders reached the spot. Barely 15 minutes after the rescue operation started, two boys, aged 12 and 20 years, were pulled out of the canal. They were rushed to a private hospital nearby, where they were given treatment and discharged thereafter.
The third boy, aged 13, however, could not be found despite repeated attempts. Police said all four victims were part of groups that had gone to immerse Ganesha idols in the water. The second incident was reported from Shastri Park around 3.30pm. “We received a call that a boy had drowned around 3.25pm, soon after which we rushed teams to the spot. The rescue operation went on till late in the evening but the boy could not be found,” said a senior fire official, adding that a team will be sent once again in the morning.
The boy had gone to the river bank at Shastri Park to immerse the Ganesha idol along with his family. An eyewitness to the drowning at Shastri Park told the cops that he suspected someone had pushed the boy into the river.Police said that they were probing the allegation.
“I stay in the area and saw the boy drowning. Since I don’t know how to swim, I could not take a dip, but the least I could do is inform the police about the incident,” said Subhash Bhatia.
The third incident was reported around 4pm, when two brothers drowned in the river at Sonia Vihar.
The three boys who fell into the canal at Bawana too had gone there with their family members. They entered the water to take a dip and were swept away by the strong current.
Their families told the cops that another person in the group had jumped into the water to save the boys, but since the current was strong, he could not help.Two of the boys were rescued by fire personnel. Fire department officials said like each year’s Ganesh festivities, they have been receiving at least four-five drowning calls per day.