The biggest high tide during the current season was experienced when a group of students of GITAM University was swept away by a strong current near Rushikonda beach on Wednesday.

The tide at the time of tragedy was recorded to be of almost two metre height as against normal height of 1.40 metres.

“This was the biggest tide recorded during the current season which might have come menacingly to end the life of the engineering students abruptly,” scientist In-charge of National Institute of Oceanography V.S.N. Murthy told The Hindu on Thursday.

He said wave energy might have got accumulated at one place at Rushikonda as littoral current was believed to have come from the opposite direction and collided with each other.

In the event of such collusion, water goes into the sea at a speed of 50 cm per second.

He said the reason why the currents were so strong during October was due to more occurrence of sand erosion. “This creates more depth for water. Erosion takes place due to littoral drift. NIO studies reveal that the erosion during current season was three-fold more than that of monsoon period,” he said.

Between shore and low tide line, there is vertical and horizontal elevation of the beach. NIO, which is profiling the beach characteristics by installing six automatic levelling instruments at Rushikonda, Tenneti Park, RK beach, submarine museum and fishing harbour, is documenting data on wave behaviour and sand erosion.

Maximum effect

Dr. Murthy said the effect of the tide was the maximum after full moon day.

“The gravitational pull is more in its velocity after ‘Amavasya’ and ‘Pournami’.

To a question, he said all the beaches were dangerous and pointed out that RK Beach was more dangerous when compared to the beaches at Rushikonda, Fishing Harbour, Tenneti Park, and Yarada.

Tourists and newcomers generally get lured to the sound of waves making it a booby trap for many.

Thirty four deaths occurred at Rushikonda during 2006-12 (up to August) as against 110 at RK Beach during the same period.

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