Mystery shrouds the death of Juri Chakrabarty, 14, who drowned in the swimming pool of Tallah Sports Ally Club, near Tallah Park, when she went there for training on Monday morning.
Juri, a Class VIII student of an English-medium school near the airport, went to the club for training as usual a little before 6am.
“She went there alone, and around 7am we received a call from the club that she was in a serious condition and had been admitted to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital for treatment. When we reached there she was already dead,” said Rita Chakrabarty, Juri’s aunt.
Juri’s father Samir Chakrabarty, a librarian on the Ballygunge campus of Calcutta University, and her mother Pranati, a homemaker, were both speechless with sorrow.
Her elder sister, Rohini, who will appear in Madhyamik 2008, was sobbing hysterically and was being consoled by her classmates.
According to the club management, Juri arrived at the club like any other day and took part in the fitness drill. “Like other days, she took part in the physical training. The trainers said she hardly showed any sign of being unwell when she went to the pool around 6.35am,” said Rajendra Dave, a spokesman for the club.
Dave said Juri was a seasoned swimmer. On August 5, she was to take her test for the highest swimmer grade of the club. She had joined the club three years ago.
The club management wondered how Juri, who was about 4.4 ft tall, could sink at a point in the pool where the depth of the water was about 5 ft.
“Till now we have not been able to detect any sign of foul play. We have sent the body for post-mortem to find out the reason for the death,” said Gyanwant Singh, the deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).
As on other days, Juri slipped into her swimsuit and dived into the water from the fenced side of the pool and was standing on the iron rods outside the fenced portion.
“The depth of water in the fenced portion where the novices are trained is about 3.5 ft. Juri was standing just outside this portion where the average depth of water is between five and seven feet,” said Dave.
About 22 swimmers of different categories were in the pool with six instructors, he said.
An instructor floated close to her. Moreover, at least six swimmers were present just within 5 to 8 ft from Juri.
“Trainer Sati Shanker Bhattacharjee, who is a doctor, was giving instructions to Juri and a boy named Rohan. When he was training Rohan, Juri was standing underwater holding the iron rods jutting out from the pillars to demarcate the zones. Her head was bobbing above the water level. When the instructor was through with the boy he turned towards Juri but could not find her,” Dave added.
Soon a hunt began and around 6.55am, an instructor felt a body underwater. It was Juri’s. The body was fished out and taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. Thereafter, her family members were informed.
The club management and the families of other members wondered how a trained swimmer could sink like a stone. The families complained that no lifeguard was present during the training session.