A regular school day turned into a nightmare for the family of a class IV boy who drowned in a water sump in Sowcarpet on Wednesday.

The body was discovered only on Thursday morning after a watchman noticed it when he opened the underground sump for routine inspection.

According to the police, L. Abhishek Bhandari (9), a class IV student of Shree JTC Jain Mission Higher Secondary School in Sowcarpet, was playing with his classmates after school hours on Wednesday.

Around 4.30 p.m., he was headed home but stopped at his neighbours’ enroute. His siblings L. Raveena (12) and L. Chetan (10), who study in the same school, had left for home right after school.

When Abhishek got to the neighbouring building (four buildings away from his house on Seenu Mudali Street near Select Talkies in Sowcarpet Hills), he saw the underground water tank lying open.

He went for a closer look but slipped and fell into the sump. Abhishek was unable to come up or shout for help as his heavy schoolbag weighed him down, the police said.

The sump is about eight-feet-deep and serves seven houses in the building owned by diamond merchant Ramesh Jain. Police said the sump had been left open by construction workers who had been working there for the past few days. They drew water directly from the sump.

On Wednesday, workers closed the mouth of the sump around 6 p.m., not realising Abhishek had fallen into it.

“The mouth of the sump is small and besides, since it was sunset, the workers did not notice anything amiss,” said assistant commissioner of police, Harbour, S. Radhakrishnan.

Meanwhile, anxious relatives launched a search for Abhishek but when they were unable to trace him, filed a missing person complaint.

On Thursday morning, when the building’s watchman slid open the lid of the sump to check on the water level, he saw some books and a tiffin box floating in the water. He alerted the building owner who contacted the police. The body was fished out and handed to Abhishek’s parents after autopsy.

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