An entire village plunged into grief when five school-going girls drowned in a pond at Potthampatti near Thoppalaakarai, 30 km from, on Sunday morning.

A group of seven girls had gone to the pond to bathe and wash clothes.

They were playing in the pond using a long rope. As the bottom of the pond was slushy and slippery, two of them got stuck. When they screamed for help, the other girls tried to save them. Five girls drowned one after the other. Two girls managed to escape.

Of the five girls, two belonged to a family. They were identified as M. Maadharasi (12) and M. Ramya (10), daughters of Murugan. G. Kalaiselvi (12), R. Ramya (12) and S. Ponmani were the three other victims.

Sixteen-year-old K. Sangeetha and K. Kavipriya (14) were the survivors. Fire and Rescue Service personnel, led by Mareeswaran, rushed to the spot. Meanwhile, villagers managed to fish out the bodies.

Collector T.N. Hariharan, District Revenue Officer S. Munusamy, Tahsildar Chandrasekaran, Deputy Superintendent of Police Perumal Ramanujam and Inspector Manivannan reached the spot.

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