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Sitapalem beach tragedy toll up to 6 as 5 more bodies recovered

Visakhapatnam: A pall of gloom descended on the Sitapalem beach on Saturday as the bodies of all the five students who went missing, were recovered. Even the DIET College in Anakapalle was drowned in sorrow as students were shocked that six of their friends died on Friendship Day.

The rescue and search operations which were suspended on Friday night, resumed on Saturday morning. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as parents of the students were inconsolable after seeing the bodies of their sons.

They said the promising career of their young ones was cut short due to the tragedy. Marine police, revenue, police and local fishermen participated in the rescue operation on Friday afternoon. Navy deployed two ships to undertake search operations.

While the body of Pavan Kumar was recovered on Friday, the bodies of Kampara Jagadeesh of Gopalapatnam, Surla Jaswant Kumar of Munagapaka, Bayyapuneni Sateesh Kumar of Guntur Anakapalle, Pentakota Ganesh of Chuchukonda and Chandu of Yerravaram were found on Saturday. With this, the toll mounted to six in the beach tragedy. Of the seven students who drowned, only Teja survived and he is undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Following a request received from the district administration for assistance in the search operation on Friday, the Indian Navy pressed into service a helicopter from INS Dega and two Fast Interceptor Craft on Saturday.

ICGS Ayush and an ICG helicopter were deployed for the search operation. District Collector Ravi Pattanshetti and SP Gowthami Sali oversaw the search operations.

Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath said the government will extend all support to the victims’ families. He said it was unfortunate that the students had chosen the dangerous zone for outing.

Sitapalem beach is hardly visited by anyone and away from Pudimadaka fishermen’s village. The rip currents in the sea are dangerous and people should not venture into the sea in such places.

Beach patrol will be stepped up to prevent the drowning incidents, he said. DIET chairman Dadi Ratnakar said the death of six students was unfortunate. He said they were shocked as the students met a watery grave.

Visakhapatnam: Days after the dramatic episode of a woman, who was suspected to have been washed away at RK Beach and later surfaced safely, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has asked the district administration to provide ‘positive confirmation’ before seeking its services for any search operation of missing persons