Anisha Dogra: 'She could have been saved had the operation continued into night'
None of the footballers could have anticipated the tragedy that engulfed the Under-18 women’s football team that left for Australia to participate in the School Pacific Games.
On the fateful evening of December 10, five girls were swept off by the powerful waves at Adelaide’s Glenelg beach. Though the boys from the Under-19 hockey team were able to save four, Nitisha Negi could not be found until the next morning.
She was dead by then.
In an exclusive interview to City Spidey, Anisha Dogra, one of the footballers, gives an eyewitness account of the tragic evening as it unfolded:
We had visited the same beach two days back. It was the nearest beach from the hotel where we had put up. It took hardly 30 minutes to reach the beach. But we were not told about how its waves could be dangerous, or what distance to maintain from the waters. The girls’ football team, eight boys from the Under-19 Indian hockey team and the team management had gone there. Girls and boys were in different groups at the beach and our coaches and other members were a bit away from us.
When the boys saw the drowning girls, they immediately rushed in to rescue. They managed to save Deepika Venkatesh, Yukti Verma, Vani Pant and Ananya Arora, but Nitisha couldn’t be found.
Ananya, and Vani were fully conscious when they were rescued, Yukti was semi-conscious while Deepika lay unconscious. They all were given initial treatment at the beach, and then rushed to the hospital. I didn’t meet them after that.
Later, a police team came to our hotel for investigation.
Also, the rumour that the girls were clicking selfies at the time of the incident is completely untrue. All the girls had left their mobiles with other members at the beach. And Nitisha’s mobile was lost on the very first day we landed in Adelaide.
The rescue team reached around 10 minutes after the incident. The incident happened around 7.30 pm, and the team continued search for Nitisha till 9 pm. A helicopter search was also conducted. But due to poor light, the operation had to be abandoned.
It was resumed next morning at around 7:30 am, when her body was found lying around a rock.
I just feel that Nitisha could have been saved had the rescue team carried on its search operation late into the night.