TIRUCHY: Three youths, who were fishing in the Kollidam despite a warning from district administration, were washed away during the late hours of Monday and a search is under way to trace them. Collector Dinesh Ponraj Oliver inspected the spot and monitored the search operations on Tuesday.
Though a warning was issued to the people to stay from rivers, which had swollen owing to heavy discharge from the Mettur dam, a group of youth, Akash (24), Manoj (22), Rajesh (22) and Kolanji Nathan (34), all residents of Moolangudi near Panthanallur in Thanjavur district, entered the Kollidam around 11.45 pm on Monday. The group reached a sand dune, around 80 feet away from the banks, in the middle of the river and were said to be fishing.
The flow in the river increased following a heavy discharge of lakh cusecs. The water level started increasing gradually. Soon, Akash contacted the Fire and Rescue Services personnel and informed their situation. A team of personnel along with Panthanallur police rushed to the spot and attempted to rescue the stranded four. However, the team could rescue only Kolanji Nathan and the other three were washed away. The team continued its search to trace them but in vain. Later, the search operation was slowed down due to darkness.
On Tuesday, the team continued its search along the banks. Later, the Collector visited the spot and monitored the search operations. They were not traced till news came in last and the search operations were continuing.
Speaking to reporters, the Collector said the district administration had sounded the warning well in advance. Despite the announcement, the people seem to go near the river just for having a thrill. “These three youths have washed away while they attempted fishing activity in the late hours. The search operation is in full swing and the officials from revenue, rural development and local administration are given instructions to take preventive measures. The people are advised to keep away from vulnerable spots,” the Collector said.