: It turned out to be a Black Friday for a Madurai school as four of its children were drowned in sea here while on an excursion.
Two others were saved by fishermen. Part of a batch of 113 students, including 71 girls, the victims strayed into the sea, leaving the group that was standing on the shore, when they were washed away by big waves.
On seeing the students struggle for life, fishermen in the vicinity rushed to their rescue.
While they managed to save two children, only the bodies of Sathish (17) of Harveypatti, P. Devanand (16) of Thanakkankulam and R. Vishnu (16) of Tirunagar could be retrieved in the afternoon. The body of S. Parameswaran (16) of Tirunagar was recovered by 5.45 p.m.
The survivors — G. Balaji of Alagappan Nagar, a X Standard student, and S. Balamurugan of Harveypatti, Plus-Two student — were shifted to the Tuticorin government hospital.
The children, studying in class X and XII of C. S. Ramachary Memorial Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Tirunagar, in Madurai, were accompanied by five teachers on the excursion.
They arrived here in two buses to visit the Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Snows on Beach Road and the V. O. Chidambaranar Port before moving to the adjoining beach around noon. They had planned to proceed to Tiruchendur later in the day.
D. Kannan, Additional Superintendent of Police, enquired about the incident with the fishermen. Immediately after the tragedy, the students and teachers were taken to Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary Memorial Community Centre on the port trust premises.
The grief-stricken children refused to have food arranged by the port authorities.
According to T.V.K. Hari Kumar, Economics teacher, the children were taken on an excursion to Tiruchendur, through Tuticorin, as a holiday was declared for the school on account of a two-day programme for the alumni. The group was sent back to Madurai in Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation buses.