Class X student ventured into a lake formed in abandoned quarry
A bout of revelry turned into tragedy when a 16-year-old boy drowned in a deep lake formed in an abandoned stone quarry in Shankar Nagar, a suburb near Tambaram on Monday.
L. Kannan (16), who was recently promoted to class X, had gone out with three of his classmates after telling his parents they were going for special classes. He was a resident of Krishnan Street, Lakshmipuram, Chromepet.
The boys pedalled to a ‘kalkuttai' (the term for a lake formed in abandoned stone quarries) in Shankar Nagar. They had taken lunch along with them and entered the quarry site through a hole on the massive compound wall around the site. None of them knew swimming. While his friends – Rahul, Karthik and Jeevaratnam – did not venture deep into the water, Kannan went a bit further, only to drown, according to Shankar Nagar policemen.
The incident took place around 5 p.m.
The boys raised an alarm and called for help. Workers at a crushing unit close by and boys playing cricket at an open ground nearby rushed to the lake. On receiving information, policemen from Shankar Nagar and firemen from Tambaram Station reached the spot.
The firemen, in safety gear, entered the lake in an inflatable boat. Divers searched for more than one hour but were unable to locate Kannan. After dark, they abandoned the search. On Tuesday morning, the boy's body surfaced. Police sent the body Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet for post-mortem examination.
Kannan's parents, V. Logeswaran, an auto driver, and Yamuna have been residents of Lakshmipuram for nearly 30 years. “He told us that he was going with friends to attend special coaching classes and later, the regular tuitions in the evening. When the policemen came and asked for me, I knew something was wrong,” Mr. Logeswaran said.
Neighbours described Kannan as a very quiet and a very obedient boy. “He would rarely come out of his house even to play,” they said. Staff at the private school in which he was studying said he was among the toppers in his class. The school was closed for summer vacation on April 18 and they were not conducting any special or coaching classes.
Residents of Lakshmipuram are angry as this is not the first time such an incident has occurred. Three boys from the same school as Kannan drowned in March 2007. A month later, the police placed a warning sign about the dangers involved in bathing in the deep quarry and instructed people not to enter it.
However, these warnings seem to have been in vain as on Tuesday morning, a group of boys from a government schools in the vicinity were seen frolicking in the lake and even diving from a height of about 25 feet. These high school students are from Anakaputhur and claimed that they had been swimming in the lake for nearly five years. “The lake is 3 palm trees deep,” was their evaluation of the depth of the lakes.
Tiruneermalai, Shankar Nagar, Tirusulam, Zamin Pallavaram and Pulikuradu are among other places in the southern suburbs of Chennai that are dotted with such lakes formed in abandoned stone quarries. There is no comprehensive data available with the police on the number of drowning cases in these water bodies, but drowning deaths take place frequently and increases during summer, when groups of boys and older men visit them to beat the summer heat.
Keywords: drowning deaths