The relatively serene Silver beach near Juhu could soon be listed dangerous by the civic authorities. Yesterday, both Juhu and Silver beaches witnessed incidents of drowning, in which three youths lost their lives. While one boy drowned at Juhu beach, two others drowned at Silver beach.
“It was low tide, which made it difficult for us to find the bodies of the boys. A search operation is underway,” informed a lifeguard from Juhu. He also revealed that this was the eighth reported drowning case at Silver Beach in the span of two months, which gives rise to concern about the safety of the beach.
While the beach is at present not included in the list of unsafe beaches in the city, the fire brigade chief now wants to conduct a survey to determine how safe the beach is. “There have been many deaths at Silver Beach recently, and we would study this after a survey. We would propose to have new lifeguards, as there are only 23 temporary ones working on a contractual basis, who get an extension every six months. There is a need and mobilisation would be done,” said Chief Fire Officer S V Joshi.
According to the fire brigade, beaches and shores at Walkeshwar, Worli, Dadar Chowpatty, Mahim, Bandra-Khar, Aksa, Manori, Gorai and Marve have already been classified as unsafe.
This was mentioned in an affidavit filed by former chief fire officer Uday Tatkare (now deceased). Two beaches at Tata Garden and Raj Bhavan are not open to tourists.
Following a PIL, the government in 2006 framed a plan for trained lifeguards to be deployed at beaches, equipped with rescue mechanisms like life jackets, binoculars, rescue tubes, pocket masks and oxygen resuscitators. The state also proposed to set up safety nets, watchtowers, floodlights and proper signage at popular beaches. Little has been done to execute any of these plans.
MiD DAY had reported last month how the fire brigade hasn’t yet spent its budget to purchase certain life saving equipment for the beaches.
Last week, two boys — 16 and 17 years old — decided to take a dip at Silver beach, even though they did not know how to swim. Their 18-yr-old cousin, who tried to save them, was rescued by lifeguards, but the missing boys could not be found.