Cochin: Five NCC cadets from north India who had come for a national trekking camp drowned Wednesday in the Periyar river in Kerala, officials said.
The tragedy took place in Malayatoor village in Ernakulam district, about 250 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
Local legislator Jose Thettayil of the Janata Dal-Secular said the five cadets had told officials of the National Cadet Corps that they were going to the Periyar river to take photographs.
Village official Radhakrishnan said the spot where they drowned had always been a dangerous place and one could go there only with a pass.
"What we are told is that one student who was washing his face fell into the river and the other four jumped into the river to save their friend," he said. "In the end all of them drowned."
Ernakulam District Collector Shaik Pareeth said the families of the five had been informed about the deaths.
While three of the cadets were reportedly brought dead to hospital, the other two died later.
Thettayil told reporters that the five were said to be attached to the NCC Delhi unit.
Witnesses said the bodies were taken out of the river by forest and fire service officials with the help of locals.
"The place is treacherous and only experts can manage to swim," Thettayil said.
Students from 16 states are taking part in the national trekking camp that began Sunday in Malayatoor, a place known for hilly terrain.