Three youth drown in Sikkim

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Gangtok, Apr 14 (UNI): An attempt by six teenagers to swim across a swellen river proved fatal when three of them drowned and were washed away in south Sikkim today.

Police said the accident occurred when the trio failed to make it to the banks of the river Rangit on the other side near Triveni, the confluence of Teesta and Rangit in south Sikkim this morning.

The confluence is located close to the South West state highway in south Sikkim.

All six of the same age group of 17 to 18 years from Turuk village above Melli in the south district had gone to offer prayers at the Rolu mandir on the occasion of Ram Navmi or Chaite Dasain, which was observed today all over the state. The day was also a government holiday.

On this day, prayers are often followed by a picnic on returning to home after visiting temples and holy places.

The Rolu mandir is located close to Triveni where the Rangit flows into the Teesta.

The body of 17-year-old Kishan Rai was fished out from the river by the police and those who came forward for the rescue operations in the afternoon. Two other bodies were still missing and a search operation had been launched on the Teesta where they could have been washed downstream.

The two still missing are Binod Chettri (17) and Sanjay Rai (17), both also hailing from villages in Turuk.

South district police superintendent Gyanendra Verma said that a hunt was still being carried out to trace the body of two others in the Teesta who could have been washed by the strong currents.

The police and rescue team used rafts for the search operation till late this evening. ''The search for the bodies will continue and since it has been raining heavily for the past few days, the currents the water level had also risen along with the flow'' Verma said.

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