A college picnic to the beach turned into a tragedy on Monday when at least 13 students drowned off India’s west coast after they went swimming, police and officials said.
Dozens of students from Pune city in Maharashtra were on an excursion to Murud beach in the Raigad district of the western Indian state, when the disaster struck on Monday.
“A total of 155 students from Pune went to Murud main beach and some of them went swimming around 3.30pm this afternoon,” assistant inspector of Raigad police Arvind Patil said.
“Thirteen students are dead due to drowning. The victims were all aged between 19 and 23,” Mr Patil said, adding that 10 women and three men had died.
The victims were enrolled at Abeda Inamdar College, an arts, science and commerce institute in Pune.
P.A. Inamdar, a trustee at the college, said that the students had been on a picnic to Murud, which had been arranged by the educational institute.
“They were on an excursion and must have gone into the sea against the advice of the teachers. They were swept away by the tides,” Mr Inamdar said.
He said that 14 people had drowned, 10 women and four men, although police insisted that the death toll was still at 13 late on Monday.
Mr Inamdar said all other students had been accounted for while Mr Patil also said everyone else on the excursion was “safe” after a massive rescue operation involving the coast guard.
Murud sits on the Konkan coast, which has dozens of beaches popular with locals who prefer it to the internationally renowned tourist state of Goa. Murud is around 140km south of Mumbai.