14 Indian students drown while swimming in the sea on school picnic

The students had been swimming in the sea at Murud, a beach town in western India 

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The Independent Online

Fourteen students have drowned in western India during a school picnic by the sea.

Three men and 10 women were swept away while swimming off the beach town of Murud, senior police official Raja Pawar said, while a fourth male student’s body was recovered later in the evening, the Times of India reports.

The victims, all aged between 19 and 23, had been part of a group of about 115 students and 11 teachers from the Abeda Inamdar college in Pune who had travelled to Murud for a picnic.

Coastguard officers and police on speedboats were aided by local residents in a search effort to find survivors and recover the victims’ bodies.

Thirteen of the victims’ bodies were returned to shore during the day. Search efforts carried into the evening with the addition of two navy helicopters, at which point the fourteenth body was recovered. Locals also managed to rescue six students from the sea earlier in the day, according to the newspaper. 

Murud is about 95 miles south of Mumbai and its beach has a dangerous undertow.

Local residents told police they had warned the students not to swim too far out to sea, but claim the students ignored the advice.

As the news of the tragedy spread, parents and family members arrived at the college to demand information, claiming to have not been told what happened by the college’s officials up to five hours after the incident.

“The college was not providing any information to us,” parent Vidya Chavan, whose  son was on the trip, told the Hindustan Times.

The college reportedly had heavy police security deployed to the campus as the students’ relatives arrived. 

Additional reporting by Associated Press