Four youths, all in their early 20s, drowned in the Sutlej after they lost their footing in the deep waters while immersing a Ganesha idol near Ladhowal on Sunday.
Others who went for the immersion initiated a rescue operation with the help of divers, following which all four were found and rushed to the Christian Medical College and Hospital where the doctors declared them dead.
Three out of four victims were identified while the fourth’s identity is yet to be ascertained. Sunil Kumar, Vinay Kumar and Kucha Ram were all residents of Islamgunj area.
Ladhowal police filed proceedings under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and sent the bodies to for a post-mortem.
Ladhowal station house officer VarinderPal Singh said around 200 people came to the river to immerse the idol. The victims were carrying the idol and forayed into the deep to immerse it, he added.
The people accompanying them jumped in to the water to rescue them, but failed. They alerted police following which divers initiated a rescue operation. The divers fished out all four youths.
Chander Mohan, a resident of Islamgunj, said the residents celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi every year and immersed the idol in the Sutlej.
In a similar incident, two youths from the same locality had drowned in the river while immersing the idol two years ago, he added.