A 40-year-old braveheart from Bandra is feared to have drowned along with an 18-year-old college student from Govandi while trying to save her on Saturday morning at Bandra Bandstand. Police officials confirmed that Tarranum Shaikh, along with her college friends, Anjum Khan, (18) and Masturi Khan (17), was taking selfies on the rocks that line the shore at Bandra Fort, when the trio slipped and fell into the deep waters.

Also read: Girl slips at Bandra seaface while taking a 'selfie'; rescuer feared drowned

A coast guard helicopter conducts a search operation. pics/onkar devlekar
A coast guard helicopter conducts a search operation. Pics/Onkar Devlekar

Rajesh Walunj, a local resident, jumped in on hearing their screams and managed to fish out Anjum and Masturi. When he dived in again to locate Tarranum, he disappeared. Fire officials, with the help of the coast guard and local fishermen, carried out a search operation all of Saturday.

Victim Rajesh Walunj
Victim Rajesh Walunj

The incident took place at 10.45 am on Saturday when the three college students, all residents of Bainganwadi area in Govandi, had come for a stroll to Bandstand. They didn’t realise when the rocks they were balancing on got lashed by the high tide and were swept away.

Walunj, a driver by profession, was on his way to work when he heard their cries. Police officials and locals confirmed that he managed to save Anjum and Masturi and brought them ashore.

Talking to sunday mid-day, Walunj’s uncle Suresh Sawant, who stays in the same vicinity, said Walunj was known to stroll along the shore before setting off for work. He said he was proud of his nephew, but the family was devastated. "He was a father of three kids and the only earning member. What will become of them if he doesn’t return?" said Sawant.

Locals who had gathered at the spot after Walunj went back into the sea for the third time, alerted the local police station and fire officials. While search and rescue operations were launched with the help of fishermen, there was no word on Walunj and Tarannum until Saturday night. Coast guards joined the operation later and were using a helicopter to locate the two. Masturi and Anjum were rushed to Bhabha Hospital at 1 pm. The doctors confirmed that while their vitals are stable, both were in severe shock.

Locals alleged that they have repeatedly complained to the local police station and politicians to employ lifeguards at the spot ever since three drowning cases occurred in 2015.

"We even identified 20 youth who are expert swimmers and help with Ganpati immersions so that they could be trained. Numerous letters have been written to the disaster management department to train and employ them but we have received no response," said Sadashiv Kelwe, a local.