Four final year engineering students of a private engineering college in Durgapur got drowned and died while bathing in the Damodar River near the Durgapur barrage yesterday (18 May) afternoon. Primarily it has been ascertained that quicksand in the Damodar riverbed is responsible for the unfortunate incident.
The four deceased were identified as Subham Pankaj (24) hailing from Pakur in Jharkhand, Chandrajit Singh (23) from Purnia, Aditya Roy (23) from Gaya and Nitish Kumar (23) from Katihar. While Subham and Aditya were final year B. Tech (Mechanical) student of Dr B C Roy Engineering College, Nitish and Chandrajit were final year B. Tech (Electrical) student of the same college.
Eleven students of the Dr B C Roy Engineering College, a privately-owned institution of Durgapur, had been to the Durgapur Barrage on the Damodar River for bathing. The city recorded 47 degrees Celsius with 13 per cent humidity yesterday.
Colonel (Retd.) Samir Ganguly, administrator, Dr B C Roy Engineering College said: “The examination of the final year students scheduled on 21 May has been deferred for a week and because it was unbearably hot, the group of students went for an outing by the riverside.”
The students were resting on a concrete slab on the left bank of the Damodar downstream, barely 100 metres from the Durgapur Barrage lock-gates. Since the lock-gates were closed, there was no water discharge and a small stream arising due to usual seepage concentrated in the turning of the bank which was a mere 3 feet deep.
From the verbal account of the students it appeared that at around 1 pm they decided to take a bath in the river stream.
One of the Vivekananda Jha said: “Subham first jumped into the water from the concrete slab on which we were resting and then we heard him screaming and saw him trying to come out of the waterbed desperately. He was a good swimmer.” But, Vivekananda added: “We were surprised to see him sinking though it was just 3 feet deep.” He said: “We had no idea that the stretch had quicksand.”
One after another Aditya, Nitish and Chandrajit went to the rescue and got drowned within five minutes. The local fishermen though managed to rescue two others; four meanwhile got drowned in the quicksand.
Police from both Coke-Oven PS area in Durgapur town and the Barjora PS under Bankura rushed to the spot within half an hour and helped in recovery of bodies. Police said: “After post-mortem it can be ascertained whether the victims were in an intoxicated state. The quicksand matter will soon be brought to the notice of the local block development authority.”