A day after three students from the St Stephenâ€™s college in Delhi drowned in Kerala's Periyar river, more details emerged.
According to reports, the water along the banks of the river had dried up, resulting in water being present farther away from land, in an area that was full of trenches.
Usually the river was 50-metres-wide, which enabled tourists to swim near the banks. But a few weeks ago, the Bhoothathankettu dam across the river was closed and the water had dried up in the river.
Since the area was affected with man-animal conflicts, forest officials had also restricted visitors to go near the middle of the river.
â€śPeople come under elephant attacks quite frequently. In the past week, forest authorities had stopped tourists from visiting Paniyeli Poru (the place were accident took place). Though, there were some forest officers in the area, as there weren't tourists around, the number of forest officials were also cut down. Besides most officers were busy looking at preventing man-animal conflicts,â€ť a Vana Samrakhshana Samithi volunteer, requesting anonymity, told The Times of India.
It was late on Friday that three students and one home stay owner drowned in Paniyali Poru of the Periyar river.
The deceased were identified as Anubhav Chandra (20), from Bihar, Aditya Patel (20), hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Kennet Jose (20), of Wayanad, and Aaliyattukudi Benny (45), a resort owner at Perumbavoor. Benny and Kennet drowned while trying to rescue the other two.
The students were part of a 13 member team from the same college.
All four bodies were recovered by the police and fire service from Thirumalakadavil, another shore nearby on Saturday.