Three drown in Rawal Lake

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Sep 27, 2013.

Islamabad – Tragedy struck an Islamabad household on Thursday as two brothers were among the three students who drowned in the Rawal Lake.

The three students were part of a group of six boys from an Islamabad school who had gone swimming in the lake.

According to Secretariat Police, the students were sitting on a rock in the lake near the Kinara Restaurant on the Bani Gala side of the Rawal Dam.

One of the boys slipped and fell in to the deep water, police said. The others quickly held hands and tried to rescue the boy who had fallen but got trapped in the artificial lake’s water themselves.

Eventually, the boy who had slipped was rescued by people standing nearby but three other students who fell in the water could not be saved, police officers said.

The six students belonged to Islamabad Model College for Boys in Sector G-11 and had gone to the artificial lake for swimming on Thursday morning. According to the police, the students were aged between 12 to 15 years and were students of class 10 and 1st year.

The police identified the three deceased as Himzeel Ahmed, a resident of I-10, and the brothers as Muhammad Ali and Gul Sher, residents of CDA Block in Sector G-9.

Rescue officials recovered the dead bodies of the three students from the water and took them to the Polyclinic Hospital, police said.

Swimming is banned in the lake for the safety of the people, according to city authorities, but young people from Rawalpindi and Islamabad often take the risk of swimming in the lake’s deep water. Police can arrest people who are seen swimming in the lake but the arrests are seldom made.

Warning boards against swimming are almost non-existent on the banks of the lake, but a police officer said even if warning signs are put up the youth still do not care.

In 2012, three young boys, all from sector I-10/1, drowned in the Rawal Lake within a week. However, the Capital Development Authority and the Islamabad Capital Territory administration did not make any significant attempts to strictly curb swimming practices at the lake.

The CDA has also faced resistance in completely banning unsafe commercial boating activities at the Lake View Park in the recent past, after the boatmen embroiled the civic agency in a legal battle.

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