It was a Sunday like any other for the group of 9 boys who came to the Aksa beach, Malad (West) for their weekly game of cricket and then went to wash up in the sea - until four of them were pulled into the choppy waters. Three of them, all in their 20s, drowned, while the lifeguard and locals rescued one.
The news of their death met with disbelief from their families, who said all four boys Darshan Dalvi, 23, Rakesh Nalawade, 22, 21-year-old Mayuresh Naik and Sandesh Mungekar, 25, were good swimmers. Sandesh was the lone survivor.
"After our game, eight of us went to wash our feet But Dalvi, Nalavade, Naik and my brother, Sandesh went far into the waters. When we saw them struggling, we rushed to the lifeguard," said Nilesh Mungekar. Sandesh said that there was not enough emergency aid at the beach. "There were no facilities such as speed boats," said Sandesh.
Dalvi, Nalawade, Naik were college students and childhood friends and lived in Rajanpada, Malad (West), where Sandesh also stays. Nalawade's parents were so heartbroken with news of their son's death that they could not claim the body and sent a relative instead. Dalvi's father described him as mature and responsible. "He was more of a father to his siblings than me and an excellent student. We cannot come to terms with his loss."
The police said that the four had gone into the water at 9.45am. "Two of the group members alerted the lifeguard, who pulled Dalvi and Mungekar out," said Bhagwan Khare, sub-inspector, Malwani police.
The two were sent to Bhagwati hospital, where Dalvi was decl-ared dead. After the fire brigade officials fished out Nalawade and Naik at around 2pm, they were rushed to hospital where they were declared dead.
The police have recorded Mungekar's statement who said they played cricket at the beach every Sunday. He told the police that they were dragged deep inside by the high tide. The police filed accidental death reports.