Casual trip to dam ends in disaster for group of friends

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Bangalore, Oct 15: A casual outing to Manchanabele dam, in the backwaters of River Arkavathi, by a group of friends, resulted in the death of four people on Monday afternoon.

According to police, a group of five friends, identified as: Charan (21) a solar company worker and Ashok, (21), a labourer, both residents of Nagarbhavi, and another solar company worker Raghu (20) and Mohan (21), an auto driver and residents of Moodalapalya and Dinesh (19), also a solar company worker and a resident of Srinagar, had decided to make a trip to the dam.

Police said that all five of them left for Savandurga at around 11 am. After visiting Savandurga they travelled towards the backwaters of the dam, which is about 5 km from Magadi.

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None of the men knew how to swim and they decided to use a small boat to reach a temple located on a small island, 50 metres from the bank. Coming across several, small, unattended boats used by fishermen in the area, Charan, Ashok, Mohan and Raghu appropriated one boat and decided to paddle towards the island. Dinesh, however, refrained from joining them.

As the rest of the group made off for the island, Dinesh decided to bathe in the lake. Moments later, he noticed that the boat with his friends had capsized and that they were nowhere to be seen.

Panicked, Dinesh attempted to raise an alarm. As there was no one in the vicinity, however, he rushed to a village nearby for help. Unable to launch a rescue operation as it was turning dark, the villagers and Dinesh filed a complaint at the Thalghattapura police station. Police began a search operation at 8 am on Tuesday, fishing out all four bodies by afternoon.

Notoriously dangerous

According to villagers, the lake can be notoriously dangerous for the unsuspecting visitor. “Before the construction of Manchanabele dam, there were many small hillocks. On one such hillock a small temple was constructed. Except for the temple all others hillocks in the area were submerged after the construction of the dam,” police said.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, one of the villagers explained: “This area is dangerous and although it is 30 feet deep in places, people think it is shallow and enter the water only to lose their lives.” He blamed police for not doing more to ensure safety at the lake. “There are no police officers to monitor safety despite it being a tourist spot,” he said. “These incidents keep happening here.”

The bodies have been sent to the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Hospital for an autopsy. Police have registered a case.

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