Residents noticed the boys were missing two hours after they were last seen by father

Two boys, brothers aged 12 and 7, drowned in Tirusulam lake near Tambaram on Friday afternoon.

V. Bothiraj and V. Santhosh were the children of Velusami (37) and Samuthiram (30), residents of Vaithiyar Street, Tirusulam. After breakfast, Velusami, a construction supervisor took his sons with him to Tirusulam lake, where he was engaged in the construction of a shed near the lake.

Around 3 p.m., residents of the locality realised that the brothers were missing. They began to search for the brothers and half-an-hour later, noticed the boys’ footwear near the water.

Before they could call for help or inform the Pallavaram police and firemen at Tambaram, the brothers’ bodies were pulled out by some residents.

“The lake was not very deep. A few of us jumped in and managed to pull out the boys. They had completely lost their consciousness. We took them to Chromepet GH (Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital), where doctors informed us that the boys had drowned,” said R. Rajan, a resident.

While Bothiraj was going to start class VII at St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union Middle School, Santosh was to start class II at a private school.

Residents recalled that a number of previous accidents had taken place in lakes formed in abandoned stone quarries. Even natives who took to swimming in such lakes had drowned in the past, residents recalled.

In March 2007, three school students drowned in a lake formed in an abandoned stone quarry in Shankar Nagar, prompting the police, for the first time, to install warning boards. In the same lake, a 16-year-old school boy drowned in April 2012.

Mr. Rajan said there were three huge lakes formed in abandoned stone quarries in Tirusulam. While the ‘harbour’ and ‘kutcheri’ lakes were more than 200 feet deep, the third one, near an army firing range, was around 100 feet deep.

According to residents, many school and college students were drawn by the cool and clear waters of the lakes during the summer months. Most of them were ignorant of the immsense depths of such lakes formed in abandoned stone quarries in Pulikuradu in Tambaram, Shankar Nagar, Kamarajapuram, Tiruneermalai, Zamin Pallavaram and Moovarasampettai, apart from Tirusulam.

The Tirusulam lake has been a source of drinking water to residents, mostly engaged in the quarrying and crushing units. It was spread over about 5 acres, Mr. Rajan said.

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