Three St. Stephen’s students, holidaying in Kerala, drown in Periyar

They were in Kerala for a seven-day tour and were staying at a resort owned by their classmate Maria Benny's father, Benny Abraham of Perumbavoor. Benny, too, lost his life trying to rescue them

Three St. Stephen’s students, holidaying in Kerala, drown in Periyar

Three students of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, drowned in Periyar river on Friday evening, while the owner of the resort, where they were staying in, lost his life trying to save them.

The tragedy occurred at Paniyeli Poru, a picnic spot around 40 km from Kochi, Kerala.

The students - Bahar Anubhav Chandra from Bihar, Aditya Patel from Uttar Pradesh and Kenneth Jose from Wayanad, Kerala, - along with 10 others from Stephen's, were in Kerala for a seven-day tour and were staying at a resort owned by their classmate Maria Benny's father, Benny Abraham of Perumbavoor.


Around 5.30 pm on Friday, Chandra, Patel and Jose ventured into the river from an unfenced point, strictly off-limits to tourists.

"The water level was very low near the banks. The students walked up to the middle and stepped into the water, leading to the tragic incident," a fire department official told
The Times of India
.

One of them slipped and was swept away by the current and the others drowned while trying to save him.

Maria too ventured in to help her father and floundered, but was luckily rescued by local residents.

Police and fire and rescue service personnel from Thirumalakadavil recovered their bodies, which were shifted to the Perumbavoor Taluk Hospital morgue.

The river stretch at Paniyeli Poru, near Vengoor at Perumbavoor, is considered dangerous due to the deep gaps between slippery rocks though the water level is low and undercurrents.

Several fatal mishaps even forced the Forest Department to temporarily close down the spot couple of years ago. It was reopened only after installation of around 20 warning boards. However, other directions by the department like increasing lifeguards’ strength and banning entry to inebriated persons are still not followed.