Torrential rain claimed the lives of two children at Coonoor on Wednesday night.

The rain, which started late in the evening, became heavy in the night. In the downpour a retaining wall collapsed at Mount Pleasant, a residential area. The granite stones fell on the house of Ramesh, a Jawan of the Madras Regimental Centre, now serving in Sikkim.

While his wife Kavitha was grievously injured, their daughters — Sweety (6) and Shiny (4) — were crushed to death. The bodies were taken to the mortuary of Government Hospital, Coonoor. Kavitha has been admitted to the Military Hospital in Wellington.

The Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik, who visited the spot, said that since there was speculation over what had caused the collapse of the retaining wall, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Coonoor, Gandhimathi, has been instructed to go into the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

Pointing out that preliminary investigations had revealed that the drainage system in the area was affected owing to stormwater drains being encroached upon, she said that a plan of action would be evolved to create water outlets. Compensation would be given as per norms to Ramesh, who is rushing to Coonoor.

To a query, Ms. Patnaik said that in view of various parts of the district being lashed by heavy rain and increasing chances of landslides, the district machinery has been geared to deal with any exigency. Railway sources said those in charge of day-to-day operations of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) have been instructed to take appropriate precautionary measures.