Boards warning beachgoers not to venture into the sea dot the sands of Marina. But this rarely stops determined fun-seekers from taking a swim.

On Wednesday though, two young boys resolved never to go into the sea again — not due to danger signs or flags, but because police officers made them sit near the body of one of the crew of stranded ship MT Pratibha Cauvery.

At around 12.30 p.m., the body of Niranjan. K. Kothandapani, floated ashore opposite Ezhilagam building. As the Indian Coast Guard helicopter hovered over it, a large group of locals gathered at the spot to watch the operation.

It was then that two youngsters entered the water after removing their shirts. “We told them not to go in there as it was a deep area and many people had drowned there. But they did not pay attention,” said a police source.

The boys ran in and started swimming. “They ventured very far from the shore. By then the sailor’s body had been brought in. We called out to them, but they did not return. Finally when they swam back, we caught hold of them and made them sit near the dead body,” said the source.

Anna Square Inspector (law and order), Arokia Prakash, who was on the beach, said the boys were shaken upon seeing the dead body. “They promised they would never venture into the sea again,” he said.

The crowd that had gathered was enthused at watching the Indian Coast Guard helicopter in action.

“We saw the body floating some 400 metres from the shore. Then the helicopter spotted it and started hovering over it,” said Shahrukh Khan, an engineering student who was at the beach with his friends. Many college students who were on the beach also thronged the spot.

An Indian Coast Guard official brought the body to the shore. “Once the body was brought ashore, the police took over,” Khan said. M. Suresh who runs a photo studio on the beach, along with his colleagues, photographed the entire operation.

The body was then placed on a stretcher and taken to a waiting ambulance which took it to the Government Royapettah Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

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