to sea? Watch out for invisible craters, say experts
Article page | Family topics |
MUMBAI: The drowning of three children at
Aksa beach on Wednesday has once again highlighted the need to plan trips
cautiously and watch the water one steps into. Even as summer vacations have
started and families have started thronging sea-side resorts, experts warn
of the danger that lurks beneath the tempting waters.
The sea, say experts, cradles big holes that is not visible to the eye. The
treacherous sands and powerful waves are enough to drag even swimmers into
the depths of the sea.
“People want to soak in the cool waters as the heat is too much to bear, but
the sea can often be treacherous,’’ explains Rajnikant Mhashelkar (54), a
lifeguard who has spent 35 years in this profession.
“When a person is in the water, the strong waves slowly drag him in the
direction of the holes. While the person himself is unaware of this gradual
shift, an onlooker can see it. But before anyone can
realise it, the person gets sucked into the deep sea,’’ said Mhashelkar.
According to fishermen and lifeguards, the sea becomes particularly
turbulent from April-end, all the way up to mid-May. The turbulence
continues up to the day of Ganpati immersion. “Locals who are familiar with
the sea usually avoid it. But when people who don’t know the area or don’t
know swimming enter the water, they are unable to hold themselves together.
Once they get dragged into the sea, strong waves make it almost impossible
for them to swim back or maintain their balance,’’ said Dr G K Bhanji,
chairman of the National Fishermen’s Association.
In fact, the bigger the group, the greater is the chance of more people
being dragged into the sea. “Even if there are swimmers in the group, when
one person is drowning and the other swimmer comes to rescue him or her, the
person who’s drowning pulls the other one down as well, seeking support,’’
They also added that the government needs to take these beaches seriously.
“After a low tide, one can see these craters, the police or the BMC needs to
put up boards or bamboo barricades along that stretch to warn of those
craters. Those are the areas to look out for,’’ said Damodar Tandel,
president of Akhil Maharashtra Machchimar Kriti Committee.