Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Four girls of class III of Umbaridharmasaranpur village in Ganjam district got drowned in the Rushikulya river on Friday morning.

All of them were the students of Anandamaya Upper Primary school at the village. Five friends of class III -- Puja Behera, Suneli Behera, Tikili Behera, Priyanka Behera and Kalpana Behera -- planned to have a bath in the river on their way back from school.

Luck saved Puja as the group decided to send her home to get soap for bathing. The others decided to step into the river. When Puja returned to the spot with soap, she could not locate her friends.

When Puja raised alarm, villagers rushed to the spot. The villagers fished out the bodies of Suneli, Tikili, Priyanka and Kalpana.

A police team from Ganjam outpost reached the spot and sent the bodies for post-mortem.

Chatrapur MLA N. Narayan Reddy, Ganjam block chairman Surath Pahana and administrative officials also rushed to the village.