Six persons drowned after the autorickshaw in which they were travelling plunged into the Kandaleru-Poondi Canal in Chinnapattu village in Uthukottai taluk of Tiruvallur district on Thursday night. The tragedy came to light only on Friday.

According to the police, Govindaraj of Pattu Mangadu near Poonamallee was driving. With him were his wife Bhuvaneshwari, mother-in-law Anjaladevi, sister-in-law Abhirami and her sons — Saravanan (11) and Venu Aravind (9 months). They were going towards Periyapalayam after visiting a temple at Putlur near Tiruvallur.

Around 7.30 p.m. Govindaraj is believed to have decided to go through Chinnapattu hamlet to reach Periyapalayam instead of taking the regular route from Putlur. He was driving along the banks of the canal when the vehicle plunged into it.

The incident came to light in the morning when villagers spotted a woman’s body in the canal. They informed the Vengal police, who fished it out.

Meanwhile, Govindaraj’s relatives lodged a police complaint stating that they were unable to reach him on his mobile phone since Thursday night.

On confirming the identity of Bhuvaneshwari, the police searched the canal with the help of Fire and Rescue Service personnel and took out the bodies of Abhirami, Saravanan and Venu Aravind and the mangled remains of the autorickshaw. The bodies of Govindaraj and Anjaladevi were yet to be recovered, the police added.

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