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Students drowned in Australia hailed from Delhi

india Updated: Dec 11, 2007 12:29 IST

IANS
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Two Indian students in Australia who were killed after being swept away while taking a dip in the sea have been identified as 19-year-old Pradeep Singh from Delhi and 22-year-old Avneet Kullar from Malout in Mukhtsar district of Punjab.

"The victims' families in India have been informed about their tragic deaths and we are extending all possible help during this difficult time to the family and friends of the deceased," a spokesperson from the Indian Consulate in Melbourne told IANS.

The two students along with two friends had entered the water at Hutt Gully, near the seaside town of Anglesea, 110 km southwest of Melbourne. Around 6.30 pm on Monday, a friend had raised an alarm after seeing his companions being dragged out to sea by a rip.

The pair had been wading in water, perhaps with no intention to swim, and were dumped by a wave and taken about 50 metres out to sea.

Pradeep, a commerce student at Deakin University's Burwood campus in Melbourne, was pulled from the water by a surf lifesaver and a paramedic who worked to resuscitate him but he died a short time later.

A statement issued by Deakin University said: "University staff and students were devastated by the death of one of our students. The university will be offering its support, including counselling, to any staff and students affected by this tragedy. Our sympathies are extended to the family and we will be providing whatever support we can during this difficult period."

A search involving local police, surf lifesaving volunteers and the Torquay Rescue Service found Avneet's body later, located around 30 metres from the shore.

Sergeant Matthews told the media: "The deceased male had been in Australia since October last year, but the female had only been here since Nov 29 this year, so it's very tragic ending."

"There is a general warning sign on the entrance to the beach and the beach is unpatrolled. We haven't had any drowning here to my knowledge in the past, but it is a little treacherous this area," he added.

Raman Vaid, president of the Federation of Indian Students of Australia and a Deakin University student, said: "They came to a new country and it happened straight away. It would not be easy for the families."