Ill-fated attempts to retrieve a ball from the sea in course of a game of cricket on Marve Beach led three schoolboys to their deaths last afternoon. The tragic incident occurred at 2 pm, but rescue operations were called off in the evening.
Fire brigade officials arrived at the spot an hour after the boys were washed away with the tide. The high tides however made it difficult for them to retrieve the bodies, eventually forcing them to abandon attempts and halt rescue operations at 7.45 pm.
The victims Shiva Sahil Gupta (12), Mayuresh Gaikwad (12) and Jitu Pastey (14) were students of Fatima High School in Malad.
A fire brigade official present at the spot said, “The cricket ball landed in the water while the boys were playing. When one of them went in to get it, he got swept away with the tides. Shortly after that, his two friends went looking for him; but they didn’t make it back either.”
Other boys who were playing at the beach then alerted locals, who informed the police about the incident. “Owing to the high tide, it was getting increasingly challenging for us to look for their bodies. To make matters worse, it was raining for more than an hour and once it became dark, we decided to call off the rescue operation,” added the official.
Asked why there was a delay in the arrival of the fire brigade officials, even though the station is only 10 minutes from the station, he said that the police alerted them about the incident at 2.15 pm, after which a delay was caused due to heavy traffic on Marve Beach Road.
Jitu’s distraught mother Deepali said, “We weren’t even aware that the boys were playing cricket at the beach. What do we do without our son now? If only he had informed me about his whereabouts, this would not have happened. Had I known they had planned this outing, we wouldn’t have let our son go.” Jitu celebrated his 15th birthday on June 20.