• Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Four Indians, including 3 women, drown at unmanned Australian beach

The victims included two students in their 20s; a 23-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman who was visiting her family Down Under.

India and Australian flags (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

FOUR Indians, including three women, have been killed in a tragic drowning incident at an unpatrolled beach in the Australian state of Victoria, the worst tragedy in Victorian waters in almost 20 years, officials said on Thursday (25).

The incident took place on Wednesday (24) at Phillip Island, Victoria.

A close relative, who was devastated by the incident, confirmed the names of the victims to Victoria’s The Age newspaper.

The four were identified as Jagjeet Singh Anand, a 23-year-old man; students Suhani Anand and Kirti Bedi, both 20-year-old women; and Reema Sondhi, a 43-year-old Indian national who was visiting her family in Australia.

The three younger victims lived in Clyde.

Victoria Police Eastern Region assistant commissioner Karen Nyholm said the victims entered the water near Forrest Caves – close to Cape Woolamai on the Bass Strait side of the Phillip Island’s south-eastern peninsula – on Wednesday afternoon.

Off-duty lifeguards surfing nearby rushed to their aid after the group got into difficulty, pulling three people from the water unresponsive.

Life Saving Victoria commander Kane Treloar said lifeguards from Cape Woolamai were called at about 3.40 pm on Wednesday and a rescue boat retrieved the fourth person. All required CPR.

Three of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene while one of the 20-year-old women was resuscitated and flown to The Alfred. She died in hospital, police said on Thursday morning. The Indian High Commission in Canberra on Thursday posted on X, the tragic drowning.

“Heartbreaking tragedy in Australia: 4 Indians lost their lives in a drowning incident at Phillip Island, Victoria. Deepest condolences to the families of the victims. @cgimelbourne team is in touch with friends of the deceased for all necessary assistance @MEAIndia @DrSJaishankar,” the high commission posted.

The Australian high commissioner to India and Bhutan, Philip Green, also condoled the deaths in a post on X. He said, “We are devastated to hear about the drowning of four Indians off Philip Island in Australia. Our hearts go out to everyone affected, including loved ones & friends, by this tragic news. On behalf of the ?? Govt, we offer our condolences to the family.”

On Thursday, Treloar said it was the worst drowning incident the state had seen in decades. “We all worked tirelessly to help those people,” Ambulance Victoria manager Paul James said. “It’s tragic… only a week ago we had three other separate drownings here in Gippsland.” Life-Saving Victoria operations general manager Liam Krige said 19 people had drowned in Victoria since December 1 – two more than during the same period last summer.

“Behind each one of these drownings there is a family; there’s a brother, there’s a sister, there’s a mother, there’s a daughter,” he said at a press conference at Forrest Caves car park on Thursday. “It is extremely tragic and our heartfelt condolences do go out to those victims.”

(With PTI inputs)

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