Death toll of the drowned people at Clifton Beach in Karachi has risen to twenty-nine.
The bathers were among thousands who had taken to the beaches to celebrate the Eid holiday, which began on Tuesday and continues until Friday.
Even as relatives gathered at the beach for news of loved ones, hundreds more families continued to arrive on Thursday and demanded that police let them swim, despite the deaths.
Senior police officer Ibadat Nisar said police discovered three bodies washed up at the upscale Clifton beach on Wednesday evening, which prompted a wider search operation that was suspended overnight but resumed on Thursday.
“We started talking to picnickers on the beach and realised that the number of people who drowned was much higher than we thought, people whom we talked to told us about their friends or relatives who had gone missing while swimming,” he said.
Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, the city’s top administrator confirmed the incident to AFP, adding: “Nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the sea while the search for four more people continues.”
Several ambulances were seen gathered on the beach where the relatives of some of the missing were gathered at Clifton beach, anxiously awaiting word of their loved ones.
Faiz Rehman, 32, said he and his younger brother had came to the beach on Wednesday to go for a swim along with two friends – who were now missing.
He said: “As we were swimming in the sea, I noticed the waves getting bigger and more rough, and I got scared and started swimming back.
“I also called my brother and friends to swim back to the shore. My brother returned but my two friends were still swimming as the waves got bigger I lost sight of them.
“I waited for around three hours but they didn’t return.”
Administrator Siddiqui added that a search operation had been launched with the help of Navy divers and a helicopter, as well as civil authorities.
Despite the deaths, hundreds of families including women and children continued to arrive at the Clifton beach on Thursday, as some clashed with police and demanding to be allowed to swim.
“We are still searching for dead bodies and these people can see the dead bodies with their eyes but they are still fighting with us to allow them to swim in the sea,” Fahad Ali, a police official deployed at the beach told AFP.
According to police and rescue sources, bodies of twenty drowned persons have been recovered.
President Mamnoon Hussain has expressed grief and sorrow over the tragic incident.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has also expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious human lives.
In a message, the Prime Minister conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls.
He has directed federal institutions concerned to take immediate measures for recovery of the bodies.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has expressed grief and sorrow over the Karachi incident in which previous lives were lost.
He also sympathized with the bereaved families.
The Minster directed Chief Secretary Sindh to investigate into criminal negligence in the incident.
Former President Asif Ali Zardari has also expressed profound grief and shock over the yesterday’s tragedy at Sea View in Karachi.
He asked the Provincial Government to inquire into the tragedy and take appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan has directed Commissioner Karachi including DHA and other concerned departments’ officers to use every possible resource to trace out the bodies of those who were drowned in the sea water yesterday.
He also directed the district administration to ensure coordinated efforts with Army, Navy and Air Force in rescue operation to immediately complete the task of tracing out the bodies of those who are still missing.