INDIA, BENGALURU: Five engineering students drowned at an abandoned quarry at Chikkajala, off Ballari Road, on Thursday afternoon. The students were part of an eight-member group – all fourth-semester students of electrical and communication at Revana Siddeshwara Engineering College, Chikkajala – who had gone for a swim at the prohibited quarry.
The students were fascinated by photographs on social media. On Thursday, the group walked to the quarry, just 3 km from their college, and reached the place around 12.30pm. By Thursday evening, police recovered the bodies of Arun Chandra Shetty, Khem Patalim, Nanda Kumar KR and Rajesh Karan Lamba, all 19. The body of Harish A is yet to be recovered.
For Hari Nandan, Karthik CA and Nitin Jain, the trip they had planned for long became a nightmare as they helplessly watched their friends drown. Spread over 1.5 acres, the quarry is surrounded by rocks; it is 80 feet deep in the middle and 30 feet near the edges.
Hari Nandan told TOI it was Khem Patalim who entered the water first. He was followed by Rajesh and Arun. They played near the edge for a few minutes and then slowly swam to the middle. It was then that Arun started shouting as he began drowning. “Arun grabbed Khem’s hand, pulling him down. As Khem began to go under, Rajesh swam to rescue them, but even he drowned. Harish and Nanda Kumar rushed to grab them, but all five slowly drowned,” recollected Hari Nandan. “The last thing I saw was Khem’s raised hands. He fought till the last and made every attempt to swim back,” he added.
Shaking with panic, Hari called the ambulance, urging them to hurry. Karthik and Nitin Jain borrowed a motorbike from locals and rode to Chikkajala police station. “Around 1.15pm, a Hoysala with four policemen rushed to the spot,” DCP (Northeast) Vikas Kumar Vikas told TOI.