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Lifeguards, cops search for clues in mystery drowning at Juhu Beach

The victim’s body was not recovered, making his identification difficult, according to lifeguards who had witnessed the drowning

After a youth was suspected to have drowned at Juhu Beach on Monday, all that was found of him was an unclaimed T-shirt and a pair of red slippers, leaving lifeguards and fire brigade personnel stumped. Though the youth was thought to have been accompanied by two others, they were missing after the incident.

Lifeguards and fire brigade personnel attempted to rescue the drowning youth at Juhu Beach yesterday, but were unable to do so. Pic/Nimesh Gurav
Lifeguards and fire brigade personnel attempted to rescue the drowning youth at Juhu Beach yesterday, but were unable to do so. Pic/Nimesh Gurav

The incident occurred between 2.30 pm and 3 pm yesterday, partly witnessed by lifeguard Sohil Mulani, who was on his daily patrol from Ruia Park towards Versova. “Three kids, who looked like schoolchildren, were playing in deep water opposite Tulip Star Hotel.

This attracted my attention and I immediately shooed them out into shallower waters. In less than 20 minutes, on my way back, I was informed that one of them had drowned while the other two had fled,” he said.

The unclaimed t-shirt and slippers are all that the lifeguards and the police have to go on, until they recover the victim’s body or locate his companions at the beach
The unclaimed t-shirt and slippers are all that the lifeguards and the police have to go on, until they recover the victim’s body or locate his companions at the beach

While lifeguards who witnessed the boy drowning attempted to save his life and called for help from the fire brigade as well, they were too late in rescuing him and he drowned. They have not managed to recover his body either, making identification impossible, especially without the help of the missing friends.

Bunty Rao, a private lifeguard, was also present on the spot, and said “One of the lifeguards, Hari Om, even jumped into the water, but could not rescue the victim. In the commotion, two of his friends — who were in the same age group gave us the slip and vanished into the crowd.”

Rao added that he had deposited the T-shirt and the slippers with the Juhu police, who recorded his statement. Manohar Shetty, head lifeguard at Juhu Beach, said that the search and rescue operation was seriously hampered owing to the large crowd during the Diwali holidays, as well as the high tide in the afternoon.

“What makes the matter worse is that, in the absence of the friends, we have no contact detail for the victim’s family, who could be oblivious to the tragedy,” he added. However, it is possible that the body might possibly emerge during low tide at night, added the lifeguards.

No signboards
The stretch in which the youth is thought to have drowned in, is notorious for rocky surfaces and strong undercurrents. In the past, there were signboards warning swimmers that it was not safe to enter the deep water there, but over the years, the boards have disappeared.

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