Burdwan, Oct. 14: Four minor children are feared drowned in the Bhagirathi where they had gone to bathe this afternoon without knowing how to swim.
Villagers in Burdwan’s Purbasthali have launched a search operation. Police said four divers on their way from Katwa, 55km away, were yet to reach till late in the evening.
Around 1pm, Pushpita Dey, 15; Kuntal Saha, 11; Radha Karmakar, 10; and Sathi Das, 14; had gone for a bath with Pushpita’s elder sister Paromita, 17. All five were related.
Shyamal Bhakat, a villager who had gone to bathe on the other side of the river, said: “I saw the children arrive with Paromita who I knew because she is a neighbour. Paromita had walked down the steps on the ghat to waist-deep water when she slipped. I took a bamboo pole and extended it to her. She caught it and slowly got ashore.”
Shyamal, who was busy rescuing Paromita, failed to notice the four other children who had also slipped into deep water.
The police reached the spot at around 2pm. A few constables joined the search operation by the villagers but the four could not be traced.
“Search operation is on. We have called for divers from Katwa police station,” said S.M.H. Meerza, the Burdwan superintendent of police.
“Some of my relatives had visited us from Nabadwip and the cousins were having a good time. I don’t know why they went to have bath in the river because none of them knew how to swim,” said Pushpita’s father Ranjit Dey, employee of a local oil mill.