Four engineering students went missing after one of them fell into the Krishna river near Vijayawada on Saturday and three others tried to rescue him but were also washed away.
The police said that the incident occurred at Pavitra Sangamam, the confluence points of Krishna and Godavari rivers, at Ibrahimpatnam.
Five second year students from a private engineering college had gone there for picnic. When one of them was drowning while taking a bath, three others tried to save him but all of them were washed away in strong currents. The fifth student alerted the police.
The missing students have been identified as Praveen, Chaitanya, Rajkumar and Srinath. While two of them were aged 18, two others were 19 years old. They hailed from different parts of Andhra Pradesh.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and divers joined the rescue operations on Saturday night, to hunt for the students. A police officer said that about 100 personnel were participating in the rescue operations.
Police said one of the students crossed the safety railing, which led to the tragedy.
Krishna District Collector Vijay Krishna and other top officials rushed to the scene. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu also took note of the incident and directed officials to make all efforts for the rescue operations.
This was roughly the same spot at Pavitra Sangamam where a boat accident killed 21 tourists, in November last year.
In the second week of November, the overloaded boat of a private operator carrying 45 tourists, including three crew members, capsized near Ibrahimpatnam Ferry Ghat near Vijayawada.
The tourists were coming from Bhavani Island to Pavitra Sangamam, to witness 'Maha haarathi' ritual on the last Sunday of the auspicious month of 'Karthika'.
The tourists had boarded a boat of the Tourism Department, but when told that the time for ferrying passengers was already over, they boarded the private boat.
The police said that the driver was inexperienced and unfamiliar with the area. He suddenly lost control of the overloaded boat, which capsized.