Karttik Mishra, a 23-year old student from the Indian Institute of Management Shillong allegedly fell to his death this morning. He along with a group of students was visiting the famous tourist spot Sweet Falls, where he drowned.
The body has since been fished out and presently kept in the morgue.
Mariahom Kharkrang, district police chief of East Khasi Hills, who is investigating the case, told PaGaLGuY that Karttik was supposedly taking photographs when he slipped and fell in a whirlpool below.
Karttik, a first year student, had left the institute at 7.00 am with the rest of the students. The trek right up the hills at Sweet Falls took a couple of hours. After reaching the spot, the students relaxed and then started taking pictures of the falls. It was around 11-11.30 am, that Kartik, according to onlookers, lost his balance and slipped from top of the hill into a strong current of water below.
The hilly terrain was slippery though the students were well-equipped with adequate gear since treks to various scenic spots is a routine with the institute's students.
The police were however notified several hours after the incident. Mr Kharkrang came to know of the incident only at about 1.00pm. When asked whether it would have made a difference, if notified earlier, Mr Kharkrang said it is difficult to hazard a guess. "I guess the students who were with the victim first thought of informing their institute’s officials and then the police. But I cannot say whether we could have rescued him had we been informed immediately. But we could have been informed earlier.”
As soon as the police reached the site, which included a team of divers and emergency services, a harness was lowered down and divers searched for the boy amidst strong water currents. The search operation took many hours and the body was fished out only in the evening. The strong water currents along with fading sunlight added to the woes of the divers.
“We will send it for post mortem tomorrow and ascertain the exact cause of death,” said Mr Kharkrang. Karttik is from Kolkata and his family has been informed about his death.
The police chief added that accidents at Sweet Falls are not unknown. "Tourists who visit the place know of the terrain and are careful but accidents do happen, especially when there is a huge downpour."
At the time of this article going for publishing, no official from IIM Shillong was available for a comment.
However, a friend of Karttik’s who has been with him since his engineering days at ,VIT Vellore remembers the deceased as a a humble, jovial and a fun-loving person. “We also worked in same city, Chennai after our graduation. He was also selected in Navy but did not join because his family did not want him to go to Navy.” Ironic, considering that it was the waters that took Karttik’s life.
This incident feels uncanny since only last month, a student from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay drowned at Vihar Lake. Both the situations, one cannot point a finger at the institutes as the incidents happened outside the campus area.
However, it may help to teach students a thing or two about safety and rescue operations. Even some some swift response movement or 'things to do in emergencies' may just help save a life sometime.
We pray the souls rest in peace.