Three students of St Stephan’s college drowns in Periyar river

KOCHI,Dec17: Three students of St Stephen’s College drowned in the Periyar river on Friday evening while the owner of the resort they were staying in lost his life trying to save them. The tragedy occurred at Paniyeli Poru, a picnic spot around 40km from Kochi.
The trio -Bahar Anubhav Chandra from Bihar, Aditya Patel from UP and Kenneth Jose from Wayanad -along with 10 others from Stephen’s, were in Kerala for a seven-day tour and were staying at a resort owned by their classmate Maria Benny’s father, Benny Abraham of Perumbavoor.

Around 5.30pm on Friday , Chandra, Patel and Jose ventured into the river from an unfenced point, strictly off-limits to tourists. “The water level was very low near the banks. The students walked up to the middle and stepped into the water, leading to the tragic incident,” a fire department official said. One of them slipped and was swept away by the current and the others drowned while trying to save him. Abraham dived into the water in a desperate attempt to save the students and drowned as well. Maria too ventured in to help her father and floundered but was luckily rescued by local residents. All four bodies were retrieved by 6.30pm and sent for postmortem at the taluk hospital in Perumbavoor.
The river stretch at Paniyeli Poru, near Vengoor at Perumbavoor, is considered dangerous due to the deep gaps between slippery rocks though the water level is low.

Following several fatal accidents, visitors were barred from entering the water here.”We have fenced the banks of the river along a stretch of 600m but the cottage is located downstream where there is no fencing. As per reports , the students ventured into the waters directly from the cottage,” said a fire and rescue department official.
“Aditya Patel and Anubhav Chandra were in the final year of the undergraduate programme and Kennet Jose had just joined the college,” said St Stephen’s principal John Varghese.