At Bandstand, locals, fishermen play lifeguards
A popular hangout, Bandra Bandstand has witnessed several drowning incidents in the past. Yet the kilometre-long stretch does not have a single lifeguard.mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2010 01:02 IST
A popular hangout, Bandra Bandstand has witnessed several drowning incidents in the past. Yet the kilometre-long stretch does not have a single lifeguard.
Local fishermen from Khar Danda and slum dwellers living close by are often the first ones to jump into the water to rescue people from drowning.
Couples that visit bandstand and sit on the rocks ignore the warnings by locals and sometimes even the police.
On Monday morning too it was the locals and the fishermen who started searching for the two boys, Irfan Mohamed Aslam Sheikh and Masleuddin Hashmi, before the fire brigade reached the spot.
"There are no lifeguards and since we are well acquainted with the sea and the risky spots, it becomes easy for us to rescue people," said Bradley Quadros, a local resident.
Bandstand's rocky stretch, accessible during low tide, is a popular haunt with couples. On February 2, two couples were rescued near Hotel Sea Rock, while on February 1 officials rescued another couple stranded at the same spot.
Locals said rescuing couples sitting on the rocks and shouting for help after being surrounded by water has become a daily affair. Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare said, "It's not a beach but a rocky place so people don't usually go there for a swim. Incidents of drowning occur because couples sitting on the rocks do not realise when the waves are coming in."
When the two boys started sinking on Monday, the Fire Brigade took the help of local fishermen with their boats and ropes. "If the high tide would have begun the, bodies would have been swept further away into the sea and it would have become more difficult for us to continue rescue operations," a fireman said.
The Fire Brigade, to curb the increasing number of drowning incidents, has proposed to mark swimming and no-swimming zones on beaches.
Fire brigade officials plan to take help from local NGOs, fishermen and lifeguards to identify patches in the sea that have strong currents and are unsafe for swimming. This is followed in Goa where the beaches are popular tourist haunts.