Four Indian-origin people including two International Students died after drowning in Phillip Island

Victoria Police adds that at this stage the deceased are believed to be a man in his 40s and two women in their 20s.

Three people died while another was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition on Wednesday afternoon after being pulled from an unpatrolled beach on Phillip Island near Melbourne (Victoria).

Now the fourth person a woman in her twenties has died in the hospital.

The Victims are:

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Reema Sondhi
  • 23-year-old Jagjeet Singh from Clyde an Australian Permanent Resident of Indian origin who worked as a Nurse,
  • The second victim 43-year-old Reema Sondhi an Indian citizen on a visitor visa
  • The third victim 20-year-old Kirti Bedi an International Student studying at Federation University
  • and fourth Victim 20-year-old Suhani Anand was an International Student studying at Deakin University

Indian Consul General in Melbourne Dr Sushil Kumar told The Australia Today that he has reached out to the families and friends of victims.

“This is a very unfortunate incident involving people of Indian origin, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victim.”

“Please reach out to the Indian Consulate as our officials are here to help and support in any way we can.”

Victoria Police said in a statement emergency services responded to four people in difficulty at Forrest Caves, a popular tourist destination on Phillip Island known for its sea caves on the island’s south-eastern coast, at about 3.30 pm.

The Visit Phillip Island tourism body notes that these caves are formed by erosion of the cliffs and are only accessible at low tides.

As per reports, three women and a man were pulled from the water and were unresponsive.

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Lifeguards and paramedics responded by administering CPR on all four but three were pronounced deceased at the scene.

According to the Herald Sun, One man from the party of ten could be heard wailing:

“I told them not to go – I should have been there.”

Philip Island Drowning; Image Source/Courtesy; The Age/Justin McManus
Philip Island Drowning; Image Source/Courtesy; The Age/Justin McManus

An eyewitness told 7News it was a “horrible” situation:

“The family was really upset. There seemed to be a group of 10 people who came here for a really nice day. Obviously it turned to tragedy.”

The bodies were loaded into vans about 8 pm and the man cried as they drove off. 

Image: Paramedics carrying the bodies (Source: 7News screenshot)

Victoria Police adds that at this stage the deceased are believed to be a man in his 40s and two women in their 20s. A third woman, also believed to be in her 20s, has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Life-Saving Victoria state agency commander Kane Treloar told The Age the tragedy was the worst drowning incident to occur in Victoria in almost two decades.

Shadow Multicultural Minister Jason Woods posted “Very sad to hear that three people have died … My thoughts and prayers are with the woman in the hospital and the friends and family of the victims. I urge everyone to swim only between the flags, it’s not worth the risk.”

The deceased have not been formally identified and their deaths are not being treated as suspicious.

Victoria Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner about the non-suspicious deaths.

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