The bodies of the contract labourers have not yet been recovered

Two contract labourers, who were deployed to safeguard the devotees during immersion of Ganesh idols, drowned in Varthur lake on Saturday evening.

The deceased were identified as Manjunath (29) and Manjunath (31), both cousins, who were part of a five-member team deployed to the lake by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Around 5.30 p.m. on Saturday, a group of devotees went to the lake for immersing a Ganesh idol. The team assisted them by carrying the idol deep into the lake for immersion. Police said the water-level in the lake had increased due to incessant rain over the last few days.

Though the five were believed to be expert swimmers, they were swept into the water. A few persons threw a rope into the water in an attempt to rescue them. However, while three of them managed to grab on to the rope and get out of the water, two of them drowned. The rescued persons were identified as Narayanappa, Shivu and Yellappa.

Narayanappa, the supervisor, sustained injuries and was rushed to Varthur Hospital. The police are yet to obtain more details about the labourers who drowned.

Fire and Emergency Services personnel along with the BBMP officials and the police carried out search operations for the remaining two labourers for at least three hours after they were feared drowned. Police officials said that there was no safety gear provided to the team.

Rescue operations hindered

Officials said that there was a lot of algae and effluents in the lake making it extremely difficult for them to see after dark, which hindered the rescue operations. The bodies of the two labourers were not recovered till late Saturday night.

Hurdles

As a large number of people gathered near the lake, there were major traffic hurdles along the roads linking Dommasandra to Varthur and Hoskote.

Meanwhile in Dharwad, two children died after they accidentally fell into a pond created for immersion of Ganesh idols.

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