A practice session of a five-member kayaking team turned tragic when two of the team members drowned in the Kadanthara river in Kozhikode district of Kerala on Sunday. The other three members managed to escape.
Following the accident, there were reports doing the rounds that the deceased were natives of Uttarakhand. However, police officials have confirmed to TNM that the deceased have been identified as Bengaluru-based Naveen Shetty and Elvin Lonan. Elvin, who was a native of Alappuzha district in Kerala, was settled in Bengaluru and was a photographer.(His Facebook page is called Elvin Lonan photography). The duo were senior kayakers who had participated in international events.
According to a report by the Times of India (ToI), the incident took place at around 1 pm on Sunday as the team members were practicing for the International Kayaking Championship in Kozhikode. A sudden increase in the water level which led to a loss of control, was cited as the reason for the mishap, as per the report.
An official from the Kozhikode Special Branch told TNM that all five members of the team belonged to different states of India. "But they were still familiar with the location. From our initial understanding, the accident took place due to a sudden increase in water level due to the rain. The two members who drowned had died by the time they had reached the Kozhikode Medical College hospital," he said.
As per media reports, the Fire and Rescue officials as well as police officials reached the site of the accident late, despite being alerted. A report by The Hindu stated that the residents who took part in the rescue operations suggested that an ambulance be stationed at the site. As per the residents, this was the second such accident in the area in the last two years.
The kayaking community has been left shocked and many people have been writing condolence messages.