A 29 year-old youth, Rajesh Balaji of Dheeran Nagar, met with a watery grave at the recently-built aqueduct while bathing at Puthur weir on Friday.

With about 350 cusecs of water released for irrigation flowing into the Uyyakondan channel through the aqueduct, the youngster was apparently swept away by strong current while bathing near the mouth of the concrete structure that forms part of a regulatory arrangement to divert flood waters. Rajesh Balaji and Murugammal, his widowed mother, had come together to bathe in the channel this morning.

While Murugammal was bathing near Kuzhumayi Amman temple, Rajesh was taking a dip near the mouth of the aqueduct around 8.30 a.m.

But the youth was believed to have been caught in the strong current and onlookers, who sighted the youth being swept away, alerted the police and the Fire and Rescue Service.

Rescue teams found it difficult initially to go near the aqueduct and the Public Works Department was later requested to reduce the water flow.

PWD officials soon opened the flood control vents behind Kuzhumayi Amman temple to reduce the water flow into the aqueduct enabling the search teams to enter the structure. Rajesh’s body finally was fished out of the Uyyakondan channel on the other end of the aqueduct after a four-hour search.

The boy was working in a private firm near Central Bus Stand.

The body was later sent to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital for post-mortem.

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