Two drown at Goa beach, search on for two others

Two persons died while two minors are reported missing after a group of four people were swept away by a wave while they were allegedly clicking selfies at Keri (Querim) beach in North Goa on Sunday evening, said Goa police.

Police said the bodies of two – a 17-year-old girl and a 25-year-old man – were fished out from the sea water by life guards posted at Keri beach. A search and rescue operation has been initiated to find the other two missing persons, police added.

Police identified the deceased as Mohammad Vakil Ali (25) and Sakina Khatun (17), both residents of Orda Candolim, Bardez in Goa. Police said at 4.46 pm, a call was received from the police control room informing that at least three people had drowned, following which several police teams were rushed to the spot immediately.

According to the police, the victims were part of a larger group of over 15-20 people, who had travelled from Candolim to Keri beach. Police said in the evening, the group was headed towards Arambol sweet lake from Keri beach when four from the group retreated and went towards the rocky area to click pictures.

“It is suspected that they were hit by a wave and knocked over into the sea water while clicking a selfie,” said a police officer.

Nidhin Valsan, SP North Goa, said the ambulance staff rushed the two bodies to CHC Pernem, where the medical officer declared them brought dead.

“A search operation to locate two missing persons is in progress. Two minors – Thabstun Khatun (12) and Mohammad Ali (16) – both from Candolim are yet to be traced. Inquest proceedings under section 174 of CrPC have been initiated,” said SP.

Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte told The NCR Ink that he had sought a report from the police regarding the incident, adding that it would be premature to comment on the incident till a report was received.

According to a recent report by Drishti Marine, the state government appointed lifeguard agency, beaches in North Goa accounted for highest number of rescues by lifesavers, with 167 rescue operations being conducted in waters off Calangute beach followed by 113 rescues at Baga and 43 rescue operations at Arambol beach between January 2022 and February 2023. In South Goa, Palolem had the maximum rescues with 25 rescue operations followed by 18 rescues at Colva and six at Benaulim.

Meanwhile, the Goa Congress unit demanded a high level enquiry into the incident, calling for an audit of manpower and equipment engaged for beach safety by the contractors.

“The drowning incident has once again exposed that the beach safety contract is a scam of the tourist department. The incident proves that the contractors have not deployed enough lifeguards on the beaches. Will the tourism minister take responsibility and resign? Will the chief minister cancel his birthday celebrations as a mark of respect to the victims and their families,” said Amarnath Panjikar, Congress media cell chairman.

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