Indian student was on video call with family moments before drowning in Russia

The four medical students of Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University in Veliky Novgorod city near St Petersburg drowned when they stepped into the Volkhov river while taking a stroll, university authorities said on Friday.
Representative image
Representative image

Jalgaon | Jishan Ashpak Pinjari was on video call with his father from far-away Russia when he was swept away along with his sister and two others in a fast-flowing river, the leisurely evening walk turning into tragedy right in front of the family's disbelieving eyes. The four medical students of Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University in Veliky Novgorod city near St Petersburg drowned when they stepped into the Volkhov river while taking a stroll, university authorities said on Friday.

While Pinjari and his sister Jia, and two others -- Harshal Anantrao Desale and Malik Gulamgous Mohammad Yakub -- died, another student Nisha Bhupesh Sonawane was rescued and is undergoing medical treatment.

"When they entered the Volkhov river, Jishan made a video call to his family. His father and other family members were pleading with Jishan and others to come out of the river waters when a strong wave swept them away," a family member told local media.

It was a devastating moment for the family as their children drowned right in front of their eyes even while they were making desperate pleas for them to come out of the water.

The Pinjari family now grapples with the aftermath of this tragic incident, highlighting the dangers that can unexpectedly arise in seemingly peaceful settings.

Jalgaon district collector Ayush Prasad said that efforts are underway to repatriate the bodies of the deceased students back to India.

Jishan and Jia were siblings from Amalner in Jalgaon district, while Harshal Desale hailed from Bhadgaon, also in Jalgaon district.

The University has reached out to the Indian envoy in Russia to express condolences over the tragic loss.

The students had been enjoying a leisurely walk near the city's beach along the Volkhov river during their study-free time when the accident occurred.

The Consulate General of India in St Petersburg confirmed that the students, aged between 18-20, were pursuing medical education at the University.

"In the incident, a fifth Indian student was saved from drowning and is presently receiving medical attention," a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

It said the consulate in St Petersburg remains in contact with the university and local authorities and is providing all possible assistance.

"Local emergency services have so far recovered two dead bodies from the Volkhov river. We offer our condolences to the families. The search for the remaining two missing students continues. The five students involved in the accident belong to the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra," it said.

The consulate is coordinating with local authorities for the repatriation of the mortal remains and continues to be in contact with the families and the district administration in Jalgaon, Maharashtra.

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