Lonavala waterfall tragedy: Search continues for 2 missing children

On Monday, police, Navy divers, and other rescue teams began their search for two missing children and three family members who were carried away by a waterfall near the Bhushi Dam in Lonavala, Pune. The Lonavala waterfall tragedy happened on Sunday.

On Sunday, rescuers recovered the body of a 36-year-old lady and two small daughters. Police are still searching for Adnan Sabhahat Ansari (4) and Mariya Aqil Ansari (9), reported PTI. 

“The search operation for the two children resumed on Monday morning with the rescue teams of the Vanyajeev Rakshak Maval, Shiv Durg Trekkers Organisation and the Navy divers,” a Lonavala police station official told PTI. 

Lonavala waterfall tragedy: Video of incident viral

Reportedly, a video of the Lonavala waterfall tragedy shows a group of people, including the victims, being swept away by powerful water currents generated by heavy rain. 

On Sunday, the bodies of Shahista Liaqat Ansari (36), Amima Adil Ansari (13), and Umera Adil Ansari (8) were discovered in the reservoir downstream.

According to police, 16-17 members of a family from Sayyad Nagar in Pune`s Hadapsar area hired a private bus for a picnic in Lonavala. The rushing water flow induced by heavy rain washed them away, according to a news agency report.

According to a relative, the family had recently returned from a wedding in Mumbai. On Sunday, more than 15 people leased a bus to Lonavala for a picnic.

Lonavala waterfall tragedy: Estimated 50,000 persons visited the hill station on Sunday

With the onset of the monsoon season, thousands of visitors go to the Bhushi and Pavana dam areas, frequently rejecting police and local officials` advice to avoid new sites. A police officer estimated that about 50,000 people visited Lonavala on Sunday.

Another PTI report quoted Senior Police Inspector Kishor Dhumal saying that it is crucial to take preventive measures such as increasing police presence, installing metal fencing, marking danger zones with visible signs and deploying more lifeguards to avoid untoward incidents. 

“Anticipating the influx of tourists during the monsoon, we convened meetings with police Patils from over 20 villages around the dam. We instruct them to prevent tourists from entering the water bodies. We also direct camping sites and resorts to restrain their guests from approaching the water,” Dhumal told PTI.

Police-Patils are village-level personnel, appointed by the concerned collector, who assist the police in maintaining law and order in rural areas.

Dhumal told PTI that drownings occur because victims fail to access the water`s depth and added, “The responsibility for safety measures lies with the irrigation department. We have suggested several measures, including installing metal fencing around the waterfront, deploying more lifeguards, and providing a patrol boat equipped with rescue teams.”

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