KOCHI -- Three students from Delhi's St Stephen's College and a resort owner from Kerala drowned in the Periyar river in the state on Friday evening, police said.
Third year Sanskrit students Anubhav Chandra and Aditya Patel, first year Chemistry student Kenneth John, and Benny, a private resort owner from Kerala, drowned around 6.30 PM at Paniyeli Poru -- a tourist spot.
The owner of the resort lost his life trying to save the three students.
The bodies were recovered and kept at the Taluk hospital at Perumbavoor, police said.
According to a report in the Times of India, the three deceased ventured into the river around 5:30 pm.
"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 told TOI.
One of them slipped and was swept away by the current. While trying to save their friend, the other two also drowned. Abraham, the resort owner, dived into the water in a desperate attempt to save the students and drowned as well.
Chandra hailed from Bihar and Patel belonged to Uttar Pradesh, police said. Kenneth John was a resident of Wayanad in Kerala.
In Delhi, St Stephen's College Principal John Varghese confirmed the news saying it was true and they were in the process of finding out more details.
Police said the students had come to Kerala as part of a group of 11 students and 2 wardens to visit famous tourist spots.
The incident occurred at Paniyeli Poru, a tourist spot where the river has dangerous clusters of slippery rocks, near Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district, police said.
The spot is known for its death traps for tourists because of strong undercurrents, though the water is only few feet deep, police said.
Following several such incidents, tourists were restricted from entering the waters. "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," TOI quoted a fire and rescue department official saying.
(With inputs from PTI)
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