Thiruvananthapuram: Tragedy struck an Onam vacation in Kerala as six youths, who went bathing at Pasukkadavu, in the Kadantharapuzha river near Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode district, went missing on Sunday evening.
The bodies of three of them were recovered after a massive search operation was launched, that continued late into the night on Sunday and resumed on Monday morning.
The youths had gone for a bath in the river on the day that the state was bringing the curtains down on the weeklong Onam celebrations. A flash flood in the river is believed to have been the cause of the tragedy.
The three who died were identified as Parakkal Rajeesh, 22, Shine Shashi, 18, and Akshay Raj, 22. The three missing are Vipin Das, 21, Parambath Vishnu, 20, and Kattodi Ashwant, 21.
Three others, who were part of the nine who went for a bath in the river, escaped unhurt. The flash flood may have been triggered by a cloudburst up the river, resulting in a massive flow of water in a very short time, which swept away the youths.
One of the bodies was recovered on Sunday night and the search party could locate two more bodies on Monday morning. The tragedy happened around 4pm on Sunday.
The youth were all neighbours and some of them were working in the construction sector.
The search operations were led by the fire and rescue department and police with the help of local residents. A team of the disaster relief force from Thrissur also rushed to the spot. Intermittent rains and the presence of rocks on the river bed added to the difficulty of the search party.
Ministers T.P. Ramakrishnan and A.K. Saseendran were at the spot to coordinate efforts for the search for the missing youth.