An 18-year-old engineering aspirant from Bihar, who was in Ranchi to attend his cousin’s wedding on Sunday evening, drowned in Kanke reservoir early in the morning, hours before the ceremony.
Ritesh Singh — a resident of Aurangabad district in the neighbouring state — did not know how to swim and yet disregarded advice of his friends not to venture too far into the dam, which is 30ft at its deepest end, resulting in the tragedy around 5am. The boy’s body was fished out three hours later and sent to RIMS.
According to police, Ritesh was staying with his maternal uncle Bhuvneshwar Singh, a retired ITI employee, at Vikas Nagar Bank Colony in Pandra area of the capital. Singh’s younger son was scheduled to get married in the evening and, as expected, the morning was chaotic with a steady stream of relatives and guests.
“The colony faces water problems and then there were too many guests. So, Ritesh and three others decided to go to Kanke Dam for a bath early,” said one of the neighbours.
They took the plunge from Sariwar Nagar. Despite his friends warning him, Ritesh went too far from the banks and soon went missing.
“By the time, his friends managed to get help of police and local residents, the boy was dead. We still sent him to RIMS after divers retrieved him past 8am. The doctors at the emergency declared him brought dead,” said Pandra police outpost in-charge Manoj Kumar. He added that Ritesh was a promising student who was preparing for his engineering entrance.
Shocked family members refused to speak to the media. It is not known whether the wedding has been called off.
This is second tragedy at the Kanke Dam, which has a catchment area of 9.44 square miles, in nine months. In September last year, a young mother, Rita Devi (31), and her four daughters — aged between four and 13 years — had entered a suicide pact frustrated with poverty. The five had jumped into the reservoir near Chatakpur-Hesal.
The decomposed body of an unidentified woman, aged around 23, was recovered from a well at Bargadih in Mandar, 40km from capital Ranchi, on Sunday. It is not clear yet whether the woman killed herself.