Young Indian student drowns in Omanawa Falls

Venkat Raman

Auckland, April 23, 2018

A young international student from India drowned in Omanawa Falls near Tauranga last afternoon (April 22, 2018), while visiting the famous tourist spot with two other students.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kishore Kumar Aravindan is reported to have been swept away by the rising water along with his classmate and friend Pravallika Samuthirarajan, while posing for photographs. The young woman managed to survive. She was treated at the Waikato Hospital and later discharged.

Tourist Attraction

Their friend Ashwin Balasubramaniam, who was taking photographs of the pair from a distance, told Indian Newslink that it was his worst nightmare.

“Three of us are in the same class at the University of Waikato, pursuing our postgraduate (Masters) courses in Business and Management. We arrived only in November 2017 and became good friends. We had heard of the Omanawa Falls in Tauranga and its sylvan surroundings and decided to visit yesterday,” he said.

Tragedy unfolds

Ashwin said that they reached the top of the falls by 230 pm and having taken a few pictures, decided to go down to the Falls, where the unfortunate incident occurred.

“I am the photographer in the group. Kishore and Pravallika posed for photographs and later moved close to the Falls. There were about ten other New Zealander in the area at that time. There was a sudden gush of water; Kishore and Pravallika were swept away. I ran up to the ground (because there were no signals) and called 111 for help. The Police and a Rescue helicopter arrived at the scene about 45 minutes later. Pravallika was rescued; she was freezing with cold. Kishore could not be found despite intense search and hence the search was abandoned at night,” he said.

Ashwin said that a special squad of divers had arrived from Wellington and continued the search later this morning.

Body found

“Kishore’s body was found around 230 pm. We are all in a state of shock. He was a very cheerful and helpful man. Pravallika is still recovering from the shock and I am still in a state of disbelief. We do not know how to console his bereaving family,” Ashwin said.

High Commission help

Indian High Commission Head of Chancery and Second Secretary Sandeep Sood told Indian Newslink that the Diplomatic Mission has been in contact with the New Zealand authorities for quick processing of a visitor visa to a relative of the deceased (reportedly his father’s younger brother) to arrive in New Zealand to attend to the formalities.

“We will extend all support to the bereaving family including cancellation of the passport of Kishore, issue of ‘No Objection Certificate’ for the transport of his body and other formalities. The New Zealand government has always been supportive and fast in such matters. We have spoken to Kishore’s father and have assured him of our services,” Mr Sood said.

Indian Newslink will update as more information comes to hand.

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Photo Caption:

Kishor Kumar Aravindan, who drowned yesterday

(Picture supplied)

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