KARACHI: Seven more people, including four school friends, have reportedly drowned at different beaches in Karachi the other day. The drowning death toll has thus risen to 18 during the past 10 days.
Four school friends later identified to be Hamza Siddiqui, Ejaz Azad, Ali Ahmed and Hamza Anis drowned at Sandspit beach. The bodies of Hamza Siddiqui, Ejaz Azad, Ali Ahmed have been recovered while Anis’s body is still missing. The search for Anis’s body is still underway. The victims were said to be aged between 17 to 19 years and were students of the Little Whittle School in Orangi Town. All of them resided in Sector 11.5 of Orangi Town neighbourhood and were at the beach for a picnic with the student administration.
The school administration and students blamed the government for inadequate lifeguard facilities at the beaches in Karachi. They stated that everyone was enjoying and suddenly there was a high tide that swept them away.
According to Hammad Ali, a friend of the deceased stated that it took at least 10 minutes for them to drown, while they kept shouting for help but no one came to rescue. Had there been proper arrangements, his friends could have been saved.
The only lifeguards who came were from the Edhi foundation but by then, all four had drowned, he added. “The Edhi lifeguards had no proper equipment to save the drowning people,” said another student, Shahrukh Ahmed. “They were only able to recover the bodies.”
The bodies were shifted to Civil Hospital, Karachi, for medico-legal formalities and later handed over to the families.
Meanwhile, in another incident, two others drowned while swimming in Do Darya within the limits of the Sahil police station. Rescuers retrieved Kashan, 22, in a critical condition and the body of 24-year-old Uzair. A third unidentified man drowned with them, whose body has not yet been recovered.
According to Sahil SHO Arshad Janjua, the victims were labourers and were working at a nearby under-construction building.
Meanwhile, the body of a young man who was later identified as Bilal, a resident of Orangi Town, was found from Hawke’s Bay beach. Police officials said the deceased apparently drowned while swimming. The body was later handed over to the family for burial.
According to Edhi Foundation officials, the three months of May, June and July are the most dangerous for swimming and people should avoid going to beaches during these months. Section 144 against swimming in the sea is already in place but people do not abide by the law.