Girl taking selfie at sea swept away, man saves her friend but drowns too
A college student, Tarranum Ansari, 18, who ventured on to the rocks that rise out of the sea at low tide around the old fort near the Bandra Worli Sea Link to take a selfie with two friends was caught unawares as the tide came back and was swept away on Saturday morning. Ramesh Walunje, who lived nearby and had saved scores floundering off the treacherous coast, jumped in but was also drowned.
Anjum Khan, who was helped by Walunje, and Mustarin Khan, both 19, managed to reach the shore. Police boats and coast guard helicopter Tatrakshak was pressed into a search, but the bodies were not found till late on Saturday. The search will continue on Sunday.
The three teens from Govandi's Bainganwadi had bunked their respective colleges and were visiting Bandra Bandstand for the first time.
"The picnic was planned two days ago, as we wanted to start studying from Monday for our second semester exams in February," Mustarin said.
Anjum is undergoing treatment at Bhabha Hospital. Bandra police said the mobile phone on which the selfie was taken was washed away too; it belonged to Anjum.
As tide the rose around 10.45am, a wave hit the three, making Tarranum and Anjum lose balance. "Tarranum slipped from the rock. Ramesh tried to save her but, unfortunately, could not. Sagari police boats, with help from the fire brigade, were pressed into the rescue operation. The team faced problems due to high tide," said DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni, the Mumbai police spokesperson. The coast guard chopper with a diver was then called in.
The three girls had left home early morning and reached Bandra Bandstand around 9.30am. They reached the rocks from the old fort side; several other youngsters were already present.
"Both Tarranum and Anjum slipped 15 minutes after we three stepped on a rock, a part of which was submerged in water. They lost their balance and slipped after a strong wave lashed us. I caught hold of Anjum and shouted for help but no one around us came forward. Luckily, a local who does not know how to swim alerted his neighbour Ramesh. He immediately jumped into the water and pulled out Anjum," said Mustarin.
The fire brigade said they receive at least two to three drowning calls a month. Despite being aware of the dangers of venturing into the sea, several college students bunk class and spend time on the rocks, they said. "The three were standing 50 metres from the shore when the water rose. They did not notice it and remained on the rock taking pictures," said Bandra police senior inspector R Dhavle.
Anjum's parents reached Bhabha Hospital while Tarranum's parents went to the police station. Mustarin's statement was recorded. The three are first-year commerce students from different colleges in Ghatkopar, Chembur and Dadar. They had become friends while attending private coaching classes for HSC.
Soon after the drowning incident, several other youngsters were seen trying to venture into the same spot. Cops and firemen had to use angry words to make them leave as search for the bodies was on.