A hair-raising video which showed how the merrymaking of students of a Hyderabad engineering college turned into a tragedy in the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh went viral on internet.
It showed how the students, who were on a holiday trip to Manali, were caught unawares when a strong rapid carried them away.
The video, probably shot by a local, showed the students standing on the boulders in the river bed for a picture-postcard shoot with the gurgling river in the background.
The video, now on YouTube, showed a wall of water suddenly starting to wash them away. The victims were screaming and howling.
Some of them were trying to swim to save themselves.
Even passersby, probably locals, sought to enter the river to save the students from drowning, but the current was so strong that they did not dare move forward into the river.
The video showed that the students who were standing on small rocks drowned first.
Other students standing on a big boulder saw their friends being washed away, and desperately tried to save themselves. But they too got drowned.
Bodies of five of the 24 missing students were retrieved and wer5e flown back to their hometown Hyderabad.
More than 60 students and faculty members of the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad were on the excursion.
Some of them were getting themselves photographed on the bank of the Beas river near this town Sunday evening when a wall of water washed them away.
“The river level suddenly increased due to release of water from the Larji hydropower project dam, located near the accident spot, without warning,” a witnesses said.
The police have registered a case against the hydropower project authorities for causing death by negligence and endangering life of others.
The case has been registered on the basis of eyewitnesses’ account that the hooter was not sounded by the project officials before releasing the water into the river.