Nagaland lad ventured into Hussainsagar without life jacket

A 17-year-old canoeing trainee from Nagaland, Ranjan, who ventured into Hussainsagar here for practice without a life jacket, was feared to have drowned on Thursday.

Special teams of military and police personnel searched in vain for him till evening. Expert swimmers, boats, and even a dredging machine were used but the search was futile.

Ranjan was a trainee of Water Sports Training Club of Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh. He had paddled into the lake with ten other canoeists around 8.15 a.m. Their coach, Niteshwari Devi, was also there.

While other trainees paddled through the water, Ranjan who was in a C-1 canoe moved towards Sanjeevaiah Park side. “No one knows what exactly happened but slips during practice are common. Apparently, Ranjan fell into the water after the canoe tipped,” the police said.

A labourer, Prakash, working at a drainage pipeline saw him drown from a distance and alerted others. By the time the coach and other trainees rushed to the spot, only the canoe was found bobbing in the water. Swimmers from Lake Police outpost and the military thoroughly searched in the deep waters.

“It seems, the trainees don't wear life jackets during practice,” Ramgopalpet Inspector Raja Rao said. Searches would resume on Friday morning. Ranjan came to city for canoe training six months ago.

Canoeists are admitted to training programme only after submitting certificates that they know swimming. Police felt that Ranjan probably could not catch hold of the canoe having swallowed water. Madhu, a former kayaking and canoeing coach, attributed the tragedy to lack of precautions.

A rescue boat keeping track of trainees should have been kept ready and not wearing the mandatory life jacket proved costly in this case, he said.