COEPian tragedyToday when COEPians and other members of the public gathered at the COEP Boat Club to witness the highlight of the COEPian cultural year The Annual Regatta, there was an extremely unfortunate accident in which a third year student fell into the river. Apparently some people were being ferried across to the opposite banks when overloading seems to cause some people on the boat to topple into the water. Among which seems to have been this boy who by some exceedingly unlucky oversight was not rescued until some minutes passed since no one seems to have realised he was missing. He was then taken to the hospital where his condition was said to be serious. The Regatta was cancelled as a result. News filtering in from the hospital wasn't very upbeat. Harish & I had reached the place a little after the accident occured and had waited for a while before hearing the cancellation was announced. Details were told by friends who'd been there earlier.
The Regatta has been the big event of the college for a very long time (this would have been the 77th) and no one can recall such an accident ever happening in the past. I guess we let that blind us to the real dangers that organising the show has always entailed - the pride in the novelty of the event and the mostly successful results have probably never alerted us to the possibilities of any undue events like today occuring. I've participated in the Punt Formation myself, where even non-swimmers like me were encouraged to take part. My initial apprehensions at being in the middle of the river despite being unable to fend for myself in case I was to go overboard were soon dimmed - for the punt is the most stable of boats. But the fact remained that we hardly had any major safety equipment on standby as far as I can tell. Even the Telematches with some bravado acts with fire were always bordering on the dangerous (once in my TE, a guy had got himself burnt in the middle during one such act).
I'm sure someone's going to get hauled up for negligence etc., but I think to be fair, the levels of organisation have typically been the same for many years and since nothing's gone wrong so far, we have never woken up to these eventualities.
This would have been my 7th Regatta in 8 years - it turned out to be the unhappiest. I wonder for the future of the show itself. I feel awful for the guy and also for the current students, especially the Boat Club & Regatta guys.
Update - 7 Mar 2005
Most of us there yesterday guessed this would be the outcome but didn't want to mention it until it was made official. Sadly, the person in question, Mayur Kamble could not be saved.