A 19-year-old native of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, who was in the city for his grandfather’s shraddh and was taking a ritualistic bath at Baroda Ghat in Bagbera, was swept away by a ravenous Kharkai on Tuesday afternoon.
Prem Kamal’s body was not found till the filing of this report in the evening.
Cousin Mahesh Kumar, a resident of local Ranidih bustee where the ceremony is being held, said Prem being an outsider had not been able to gauge the depth of the river. “He went too deep into the waters and also did not know how to swim,” said Mahesh.
“Some relatives, who knew how to swim, had tried to save the teenager, but the current was too strong after a day of rain,” Mahesh added.
Bagbera OC Shailendra Kumar said they received a drowning report from family members after 2pm.
“A team of three civil defence divers was sent to Baroda Ghat, but the strong currents of the river had perhaps already taken the boy away downstream. He could not be traced despite hours of efforts,” the officer added.
A relative said they would continue to search for the boy along the Jugsalai-Kadma-Adityapur-Sonari stretch of Kharkai. “Police made an abortive attempt, besides the divers arrived too late. Prem, even if he was alive, was swept far away by then,” the relative claimed.
OC Kumar maintained that divers could not risk a search and rescue mission after sundown and “fresh attempts” to locate Prem Kamal would be made on Wednesday.