There was no BMC lifeguard at the Silver beach or the beach adjoining Birla lane in Juhu, a volunteer lifeguard part of the rescue operation said.
Three teenagers drowned while swimming in the sea at Juhu on Sunday. Their deaths could have been averted if there was a lifeguard present.
“BMC lifeguards are stationed close to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Juhu,” said Sunil Kanojia of the Sea Guardian Lifeguard. “If there is an emergency, lifeguards have to be summoned from there, and this takes time. I do not understand why authorities can’t position lifeguards at the danger areas.”
SGL, a group of lifeguards at the 2.5-km stretch of Juhu beach between Novotel hotel and Ruia park, stopped functioning on May 20 this year.
Kanojia said, “We were a group of 22 volunteer lifeguards. Neither the BMC nor the local police cooperated with us. We managed to guard the beach for five years. But without support, we decided to shut down.” Before closing the group, he had written a letter to the BMC, the chief fire officer and the K-ward officer, saying the group was shutting down and that they should position at least one lifeguard behidn the Godrej bungalow (where two teenagers drowned on Sunday). But his letter got no response, he said.
VN Panigrahi, deputy chief fire officer said it was not possible for lifeguards to many just one spot, and that there the stretch was constantly patrolled. “The spot near Silver beach is nearly three and a half km away from where our patrol vehicle is generally stationed. It’s very hard to keep an eye on every person entering the sea,” said a fire official.