Tourist’s death on beach exposes Goa govt’s claims: Cong

Panaji: The Congress has raised questions over safety of visitors to beaches, a day after a tourist died and his pregnant wife was seriously injured in a lightening strike on the Candolim beach.

State Congress chief Girish Chodankar, here on Saturday, also questioned the Rs 141.50 crore spent on the beach safety and lifeguard services on beaches in the last five years. No rescue vehicle or other facilities were available on the Candolim beach when the freak accident occurred, he said.

Contesting the charges, Drishti Marine, the private lifeguard agency, said lifeguards had immediately attended to the injured tourists and provided assistance to ferry them to the nearest hospital.

A 35-year-old tourist from Delhi Chaitanya Nagpal died in the freak accident. His wife is recuperating at a local hospital.

“The death of a tourist and injuries to his wife in a lightning strike on the Candolim beach raise questions on the much-hyped beach safety and lifeguard services of the Goa tourism department on which the government has spent Rs 141.50 crore in the last five years,” Chodankar said.

According to the lifeguard and beach safety contract, it’s mandatory for the contractor to deploy proper facilities and equipment in good working condition. “The Chief Minister must clarify whether the emergency equipments and rescue vehicle were available on the beach when the lightning struck,” Chodankar said.

Drishti Marine said lifeguards posted at the Candolim beach had rushed to provide assistance to the couple injured in the lightening strike.

“Two lifeguards rushed to the spot, called for backup and initiated CPR. Immediately, six more lifeguards rushed to assist. First-aid and CPR continued to be administered to the victims and they were rushed to the waiting ambulance on a spine board, called for by lifeguards,” said a spokesperson for the agency.

Goa’s tourism season stretches from October to March. Last year, nearly eight million tourists visited the coastal state.