Day before rowing final, 2 Kolkata boys went for practice round, didn’t return

The boys from Kolkata were dreaming of lifting the trophy on Sunday.

Bhushan Sadhkhan and Surideep Chatterjee, both aged 14, had successfully cut into the semi-finals on Saturday of the Interscholastic Regatta Final organized by the Bengal Rowing Club (BRC). The two then opted for a round of training at Rabindra Sarupar at 3pm in ‘good weather’.

What happened next is what no one had ever imagined.

“From about 3.30pm the sky was starting to turn grey. But it wasn’t bad. The storm and the rain came suddenly, when they were in the middle of the water,” said Arijit Nandi, who is two years their senior at South Point School and an eyewitness to the tragedy that unfolded, Indian Express.

There were other boats too and everyone started turning back. Unfortunately, their boat capsized. He had five people, including the experienced Cox (the rower driving the boat) who did their best. He rescued rowers but couldn’t save Bhushan and Surydeep.” Nandi, who was competing in the big boys division, said, perhaps, their hands were cut off from the boat.

The two students were from the city’s Lake Club, where they cut their teeth while paddling. According to the Lake Club joint secretary, Debu Datta, six kayaks and seven have capsized and the rowers have been brought back to the club. When they found two of them missing, the search began. Around 7.40pm, the Kolkata Police Disaster Management Team managed to pull the two out of the lake and take them to SSKM Hospital. They were declared “killed”.

Bhushan was in Class IX, and Souryadeep in Class X. Both were residents of southern Kolkata – from Santoshpur and Raja Basanta Roy Road, respectively – and “good swimmers” but could not weather a 90 kph storm and choppy lake.

They were good students, too. Very passionate about sports. We are trying to build our rowing team, they were the youngest members, and they were very active. Rupa Sanyal Bhattacharjee, Director of South Point, said: Indian Express. The school issued a statement of condolence for the death of its students. “We urge the authorities to consider reviewing the safety standards for rowers,” she said.

School Principal Krishna Damani said Indian Express Which usually, “follow the speedboats” accompany the rowers and act during emergencies at most paddling venues. But the secretary of the Calcutta Rowing Club, Chandan Roy Chaudhry, said the intervention of activists had put an end to the practice in Rabindra Sarupar, which all rowing clubs in the city have in common.

“We call rescue speedboats ‘follow-up boats’ and they compulsorily accompany rowers everywhere in India. What happened here is that quite a few environmentalists were constantly writing to the Kolkata City Development Authority to stop the use of speedboats to prevent water pollution and protect fish “We received an order from the authority on May 18 that the speedboats could not be used,” Choudary said.

Kayaking began here in 1928 and for the first time such a tragic accident happened. We are destroyed.”

According to those who knew the two students, kayaking was a passion of Bhushan and Suryadip. But in the end, that extra training session proved fatal.

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