Water bodies turning into death traps

Over 130 people drowned in the district between January 2020 and June 2021

Waterfalls, ponds and streams in the rural as well as Agency areas of the Visakhapatnam district are turning into death traps for the visitors. From January 2020 to June 30 this year, over 130 people drowned in various water bodies in the district limits.

In 2020, the rural and Agency areas reported about 82 drowning deaths. While in the first six months of 2021, as many as 48 people drowned. A number of unrecognised waterfalls in the Agency have been witnessing most of the drowning incidents. Visitors, particularly youngsters, are falling prey after venturing into the water bodies either for swimming or while taking selfies at dangerous points. They have been ignoring advice of police officials not to visit waterfalls.

Sariya waterfalls in Ananthagiri police station limits, close to Devarapalle town, is said to be one of the dangerous waterfalls in the Agency. The Ananthagiri police have arranged fencing to ensure visitors do not enter the waterfalls. The warning board arranged at the waterfalls at the venue reads that about 70 people drowned in the waterfalls in the last few years. “Sariya waterfalls is also known as Bahubali waterfalls in the region. Nature lovers tend to visit the beautiful water body. But, many make risky stunts in water. Though we have arranged boards and fencing, many do not heed the warning. Some locals also guard the waterfalls and warn the visitors, but several youth stand at dangerous positions and take selfies,” said former Sub-Inspector of Ananthagiri police station K. Sudhakar.

Similarly, many water bodies in G.Madugula, Pedabayulu, Munchingputtu, Paderu, Ananthagiri and Chintapalle mandals reported drownings.

“Most of the waterfalls and streams do not have basic precautionary measures for the tourists as they are unrecognised. Since many of them are located in interior regions, rescue operations get delayed when drownings were reported. This is also a reason for the deaths,” said a senior police officer working in the Agency.

A few officials said that unlike major beaches in Visakhapatnam city, beaches in the rural areas of the district do not have protection. They lack community guard system and public addressing system, they said.

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