A day at the lake went horribly wrong when two boys and their uncle drowned after being trapped in the slush
A fishing expedition ended in a tragedy for a family when a man and his two young nephews drowned in the Puzhuthivakkam lake — located midway between Velachery and Madipakkam — on Friday evening.
The man was trying to rescue the boys who were caught in the slush on the lake bed.
This is the latest in a series of incidents in the water bodies of the southern suburbs.
The two boys — K. Giridharan (15) and B. Bharath (12) — got caught in the slush while their uncle, S. Udayakumar (46) was fishing in the shallow waters of the lake.
The three victims had left for the lake on Udayakumar’s two-wheeler around noon on Friday. They had taken food packets for their lunch, thin pieces of clothing and baits.
The two cousins were playing in the shallow waters. In the evening, unnoticed by their uncle, they ventured further into the lake, where the water was more than 20 feet deep, according to the Madipakkam police who are investigating the accident.
The two boys got trapped in the thick layers of slush on the lake bed and noticing their striggle, Udayakumar rushed to their rescue. However, the boys, in a panic, took a firm grip of their uncle and all three of them drowned.
The police said they believe the incident occurred around 6 p.m.
As the three of them did not return home their relatives called Udayakumar on his mobile phone repeatedly. A passer-by, noticing the mobile phone lying near the lake, picked it up and informed the relatives that only the phone, clothes and a motorcycle could be seen on the lake margins.
Udayakumar’s relatives and friends rushed to the spot and, unable to spot the man and the boys, informed the police control room. Madipakkam police personnel reached the spot and, helped by a few men from Velachery engaged in fishing in shallow waters in the area, searched for Udyakumar and the two boys. The men retrieved the bodies of the victims around 2 a.m. on Saturday, said K.P.S. Devaraj, inspector of police, Madipakkam.
Udayakumar, a plumber, was a resident of Kakkan Nagar First Street in Adambakkam. He was married to Pankajavalli and the couple did not have children.
Giridharan, also a resident of Adambakkam, was the second of three children. His father, Karthikeyan had been unemployed after being afflicted with jaundice and tuberculosis and his mother Sumathi is employed as domestic help. Giridharan’s elder brother is a polytechnic student, while his sister Lokeshwari is a class VII student. Giridharan had been recently promoted to class X.
Bharath, son of Balasubramaniam, was a resident of Ayanavaram and had come to spend the summer vacation with his uncle and cousin.
“Drownings, involving young boys, occur every year during the summer months. We chase boys away from the lake, but the older youths shout back at us,” said V. Nagalakshmi, a resident.
She said, despite the fast-depleting level of water in the lake, many young people, especially from distant areas, visited the lake in the summer months.
G. Ayyasamy, a goatherd, said the mining of mud from the dry bed of the lake for construction work had made the depth of the water uneven. The margins were shallow and safe for people to bathe or wash their clothes. But the depth suddenly increased in the middle of the lake and unaware of the danger, many young people, ventured for a swim and lost their lives, she said.
On May 17, two brothers drowned at the Tirusulam lake while a month earlier, a man hailing from Maharashtra drowned in the Keelkattalai lake.