from daijiworld's special correspondent
Panaji, Aug 14: With Goa's lifeguards manning beaches striking work for the fourth day on Monday, the state recorded 12 deaths due to drowning at major beaches.
The youths from Hyderabad, Banaras, Kerala, Delhi, Lucknow and Haryana were amongst the visitors who were hit by a major tragedy at Calangute beach on Sunday evening.
Lifeguards on strike in Goa (Pic Rajtilak Naik)
Horrific moments were witnessed at Calangute beach late last evening, when youths from three different groups were washed away by the strong currents. Two dead bodies were fished out, two admitted critically injured at state's Goa medical college hospital while search is on for another three who have been feared drowned.
Around 69 lifeguards, who manned 30 beaches, are on strike for last four days, severely affecting the security on the beaches. Rains in the state have turned the sea rough, making many spots as "no swimming zones."
Stunned by the increasing drowning cases, the state tourism department has called for a special meeting on Monday evening. Tourism minister Dr Wilfred D'Souza will chair the meeting.
Police are left with the job to shoo away tourists from "no swimming zones". "Policemen do tell visitors not to venture into the sea but tourists go for a bath once policemen are out of sight," stated a senior police officer.
According to police records, the tragedy that struck last evening swept away seven youths. Manish Trivedi (Lucknow) and Gaurav Gulhati (Delhi) – both aged 25 years – died while being taken to the hospital. Vijay Dixit (Lucknow) and Anubhav Mishra (Hyderabad) – both aged 23 years – are admitted to Goa medical college hospital in a critical condition.
Search was still on for Sudin Jose (Kerala), Susheel Singh (Banaras) and Amit Kumar Varma (Haryana).
While tourism director Sandeep Jacques refused to comment on the deaths, the tourism minister Dr Wilfred D'Souza said that the government has taken up the issue seriously.
Lifeguards, on the other hand, struck their work for fourth day on Monday and held dharna at the entrance of tourism department. "Many lives would have been saved, if we were on duty," stated Sunil Fadte, a lifeguard.
State's lifeguards are demanding that they should be provided with the latest equipment. "We are working with just a rescue tube and a rope," he said.
Death by the Sea: