Personal stories of fatal trips to Goa


#1 Nov 18th, 2004, 23:12
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#1
I am new to this site but my close friend's boyfriend (from London) died in Goa in Nov '03 and this led me to look further into the high rate of tourist deaths in Goa. I am an experienced documentary filmmaker, researching stories of people who have travelled with or personally knew someone who died while holidaying in Goa in the last 18 months (or prior). In researching this sensitive subject I would like to speak to people (from any part of the world) who have a personal experience of this that they are willing to share. This is a serious and sincere request for any help or information of other places to try, it would be greatly appreciated and any information would treated with the utmost sensitivity. I can be reached in confidence at researchgoa@hotmail.com. Thankyou.
Last edited by research; Nov 19th, 2004 at 03:50..
#2 Nov 23rd, 2004, 23:06
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Yah people die in Goa allright.
I met one nice guy who hung himself in his room for some reason.
But that was a long time ago.
#3 Nov 23rd, 2004, 23:59
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Research,

What's the angle of your story?
#4 Nov 24th, 2004, 03:18
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#4

A friend of mine drowned

September 8, 2001
A friend of mine went to Goa from bangalore on a vacation trip, (I think with some of his friends). They were having a party at night and having drunk heavily gone to take a dip. He was pulled into the currents in front of others. Others could not do anything other than watching, shouting for help etc. They could not go inside water, since the same could have happened to them too. The body could not be recovered until the next morning.
During the full moon or near full moon days and no moon days the currents will be too much for even the best of the swimmers. After drinking alchohol you can imagine.
I was in US and the news came on the same day of Sep 11, 2001 (9/11).
I could not bear it.
He was my best friend and used to always tag along with me during my bangalore days.
All other friends never went into the water in Goa after that.
Drinking and swimming does not go hand in hand specially in nights at rough seas during fullmoon days.
#5 Nov 24th, 2004, 13:25
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by gluedtoweb September 8, 2001
A friend of mine went to Goa from bangalore on a vacation trip, (I think with some of his friends). They were having a party at night and having drunk heavily gone to take a dip. He was pulled into the currents in front of others. Others could not do anything other than watching, shouting for help etc. They could not go inside water, since the same could have happened to them too. The body could not be recovered until the next morning.
During the full moon or near full moon days and no moon days the currents will be too much for even the best of the swimmers. After drinking alchohol you can imagine.
I was in US and the news came on the same day of Sep 11, 2001 (9/11).
I could not bear it.
He was my best friend and used to always tag along with me during my bangalore days.
All other friends never went into the water in Goa after that.
Drinking and swimming does not go hand in hand specially in nights at rough seas during fullmoon days.
So sorry to hear about your friend,,,,,,,,,,

I was on vagator beach only about 3yrs ago & an Indian guy drowned. The coast guard helicopter came quite quickly though by then it was to late, all they could do was recover his body, Emotionally it was very upsetting, It happened late morning so there was a lot of people around.
The seas of Goas beaches can be treacherous & people do drown there every year.
Be Careful People,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
#6 Nov 24th, 2004, 14:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventies'hippy The seas of Goas beaches can be treacherous & people do drown there every year.
Be Careful People,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
They should have rope and swimming rings stationed on the beach so that one can throw that out is something happens...
#7 Nov 24th, 2004, 16:59
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#7
Years ago on Anjuna a dog came from the beach up towards a chai shop I was in one morning dragging a below the knee & foot part of a leg,,,,,,,,,,,

No body came forward to claim it!
#8 Nov 24th, 2004, 23:48
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#8

Killer cocktail of prescription drugs, narcotics haunts Goa coastline

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Separate box # 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Deaths of foreign tourists in Goa

October 2003 01
November 2003 05
December 2003 14
January-February 2004 18

(Source: Goa Police, Foreigners' Branch)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Killer cocktail of prescription drugs, narcotics haunts Goa coastline

By Frederick Noronha & Ashley do Rosario

PANJIM, March 12, 2004

Goa's golden beaches are seeing a deadly cocktail of drugs, politics and
crime combine to kill 38 foreigners who dropped by here in the past five
months, 32 of them in the peak rave season from December-February alone.

Police officials play down the role of drugs in these deaths. But all
evidence indicates a key link. The small state of 1.4 million has slowly,
meanwhile, been waking up to the reality that a killer-cocktail of medicines
available in neighbourhood pharmacies are becoming the new mantra to attain
a sometimes-lethal high.

"Only one death can be (definitely) attributed to drug abuse," Deputy
Inspector General Muktesh Chander told SAHARA in an interview here. He was
referring to the case of Frenchman Borgnat Fabrice Thierry Nicolas (30),
found with an empty syringe lying next to the dead body. To explain the
string of foreigner deaths, the senior official hinted that many visitors
didn't have an "impressive medical history" even before landing in Goa.

"Many of them are low-budget tourists and live in extremely un-hygienic and
unhealthy conditions," he said, suggesting that this could be a reason for
the deaths of the surprisingly high number.

But others disagree sharply. "You could say roughly 30% of the foreigner
deaths are linked to drugs," acknowledges a knowledgeable source at the
Government-run Goa Medical College, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"I'm saying that drugs are being sold at the instance of the police. The
police have become the biggest narcotic traders... of course, not all the
police. I said this on the floor of the House," charges Goa Pradesh
Congress(I) Committee vice-president and spokesperson Jeetendra Deshprabhu.

This businessman-politician whose family held the Portuguese title of
Viscount of Pernem -- a coastal rustic paradise in Goa's extreme north,
adjoining Maharashtra -- recently raised an Assembly question over foreigner
deaths in the area, part of which he currently represents as legislator.

In reply, the government listed five who died in this small taluka between
August 2003 and January 2004. They were Martin Carlo (Italian, 38), Boulo
Francois Xavier (French, 23), Andreas Rindt (Austrian, 44), Nigel Wills
(British, about 50-55 years), and a suspected suicide case Miss Karina
Puntus (Austrian, 27). This covers just one of Goa's 11 talukas, albeit one
who's tourism scene has got more closely involved with the drug-scene.

Autopsy reports presented in the Goa legislative assembly mostly kept the
cause of death "reserved" pending chemical analysis in the Pernem cases.
Viscera was preserved. "My question was answered in a grossly ambiguous
manner," complains Deshprabhu, in an interview here.

In many cases, the mystery remains. Goa still lacks its own State Forensic
Laboratory. Earlier, police paid between Rs 300 to 500 to get tests done at
Kalina, Mumbai. Now, the tests are done gratis at the Central Forensic Lab
in Hyderabad. But, as one insider told this newspaper, "we get step-motherly
treatment there". Qualitative and quantitative analysis of narcotics or
alcohol is not adequately done, and only the substance present is mentioned.
This is insufficient to make a point in law, often times.

Others too voice concern over what's happening.

"The narcotics link is very significant (to the foreigner deaths), but they
(the authorities) are not admitting it," says journalist Devika Sequeira,
bureau chief in Goa of the Bangalore-based Deccan Herald, a senior Goa
journalist who has been tracking this story the closest. She adds: "Often,
all the signs -- like pulmonary and brain edema (fluid accumulation and
swelling of lungs and brain) -- are there, indicating that the deaths were
due to drug overdose."

Sequeira's persistent follow-ups on this issue have drawn the attention of
London journalists, eager to get the story of what's happening to their
nationals holidaying here. Lawyers of one of those convicted in the UK for
smuggling narcotics disguised in rose-water bottles put out eager public
appeals via the Internet to get details from her, and Sequeira says a
Scotland Yard team too had been in email contact wanting to visit Goa to
study the situation here.

Goa claims to get 2 million visitors each year, the bulk of whom are desi.
Roughly one-in-ten are foreigners, flying in mainly aboard the direct 584
Euro charter flights expected during the October 2003-May 2004 fair-weather
season. Besides the warm sunshine, good food and friendly atmosphere, cheap
drugs have long been a lure drawing a certain segment of the Western visitor
to Goa.

Drugs made their entry here with the 'hippies way back in the 'sixties. But,
two trends have cropped up of late. Rave parties caught on in Goa in a big
way, with one brand of music even being named after this place -- called
'Goa Trance'. This commercialised and cloned-manifold to speedily replicate
the earlier 'alternate' culture. Today, rave-type events get sponsored by
liquor majors and is also advertised heavily in the local media,
particularly at peak season.

Secondly, this state took time to wake up to the fact that prescription
medicines were being used to hit a new high.

Ketamine, one of the club drugs, is a powerful hallucinogen used as an
animal tranquilizer by veterinarians. The US-based National Institute on
Drug Abuse says liquid Ketamine was developed in the early 1960s as an
anaesthetic for surgeries, and used on the battlefields of Vietnam.

One generation later, it was back to haunt a new breed of travellers
following the trail of those who came to this then-remote locale,
ironically, to escape from the Vietnam War through the flower-power
movement. Powdered Ketamine emerged as a recreational drug in the 1970s, and
was known as "Vitamin K" in the 1980s. It resurfaced in the 1990s rave scene
as "Special K."

Special K is a powder. The drug is usually snorted, but is sometimes
sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked. Special K is frequently used
in combination with other drugs, such as ecstasy, heroin or cocaine.
Psychedelic effects are produced quickly by low doses (25-100 mg) of
Ketamine. Higher doses (1 gram or more) can cause convulsions and death.
Strangely, a 10 ml vial costs just over a hundred rupees!

"My god, it was available everywhere," says Jawaharlal Henriques, a medico
who treats a number of foreigners in Goa's hippy-capital of Anjuna some 15
kms from here. Henriques is concern over narcotics sits uneasily with his
open advocacy for legalising rave parties as a source for economic income
for the area.

In March 2003, reports reaching here said three men had been sentenced by
London's Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court for illegally importing Ketamine
from Anjuna village in Goa to the UK. They were identified as Richard Widger
(Briton), Bruno Veiga (Portuguese) and Marco Siddi (Italian).

Ketamine was being allegedly smuggled in 500 ml bottles of rose-water.

In a short while, a legal firm from London claiming to represent one of the
convicts wrote back publicly enquiring about the source for media reports
quoting the price of Ketamine in Goa.

In February 2003, Customs sources at Goa's Dabolim airport said they seized
21.5 litres of Ketamine being smuggled by three Italians -- Julio Conte,
Serena Discalzio and Julia Gulpurk, in a case which seems to have gone
wholly unreported here.

(Joint Commissioner of Customs Patni said here that his office had
written to Central authorities requesting that Ketamine be included in the
schedule under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. At
present this misused medicine is not considered a narcotic, leaving a vital
loophole. Panjim-based prominent vet Gustav Pinto said when contacted that
Ketamine was formerly used on cats -- "we anyway don't have many monkeys
(being treated) in Goa" -- but now it's not used much.)

In mid-September 2003, some 17.5 litres of Ketamine was nabbed from a
Spaniard, Martinez Liano. Reports surfacing in the local media at that time
claimed that a 23-year-old woman, believed to be his wife, had been founded
dead, from a suspected Ketamine overdose, though a local doctor had
certified her death as being due to "natural causes".

Following the surfacing of these cases, some officials have got tough.

Goa deputy director of the Food & Drugs Administration P K Jain said
here: "It's apparent that abuse (of Ketamine) is greater than the genuine
medical use. Rules prescribe it must be sold only on a doctor's
prescription, against a cash memo. Medical stores are within their rights to
stock it. But it appears that bulk unaccounted sales are taking place."

Says blue-coat clad pharmacist Raj Vaidya: "We hear it used to be pretty
bad, and are very happy about the clamp-down." Vaidya is secretary of the
Voluntary Health Association of Goa and someone who's built up a reputation
as a concerned health professional. He says it's not just Ketamine that has
been getting misused, but also the light-opiate pain-killer Fortwin and
related products.

This stranger-than-fiction story would however be incomplete if the role of
politicians in the sordid drama is not mentioned. One local ruling BJP
politician has faced repeated charges of being behind organising the raves,
and ensuring these are not blocked -- for noise-pollution, or on any other
grounds -- by the authorities.

In the late 'nineties, state-level politicians' aides have been involved in
a bitter battle for control of the North Goa rave scene, leading to the
story exploding dramatically on the front-pages of the local press.

Former Goa Speaker Tomazinho Cardoso, ambivalent towards tourism's impact
inspite of earlier representing the famed coastal tourism-dependent
Calangute constituency, explains the pressures on politicians. The author of
a play on tourism called 'Movall Vikh' (Sweet Poison), Cardozo narrates how
he raised the issue of the impact of rave-tourism on the villagers of
Anjuna. "(Congress MLA) Chandrakant Chodankar, the very next day, sent a
bus-load of women to plead how they were dependent on the parties (noisy
night-long affairs, with well-documented open scenes of drug-taking). But
when I asked the women how many of their children were actually completing
their studies, they admitted to a huge drop-out problem there (due to the
distractions)," he says.

Oddly, a fictional book called 'Gates of Fire' by Ellwyn Chamberlain paints
Goa to be a drug-filled paradise, where police and politicians have a good
nexus with mafia barons. Life imitating art, or just the reality that
fiction too can sometimes be rather perceptive? (ENDS)

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Separate box # 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who was Cleo Odzer?
------------------

This is yet yet another story from the colourful yet pathos-filled North Goa
coastline that reads stranger than fiction.

Cleo Odzer, a young American Jewess, rode down into Goa via the overland bus
she boarded in Athens six weeks earlier. It was September 1975, and the
turmoil in Iran and Afghanistan were yet to disrupt Europe's land route to
India. But at that time too, there were beaches where the "parties are".

To cut a long story short, she was a reluctant entrant into the Anjuna drug
scene. After a "love affair with Goa", she explains in her book 'Goa Freaks:
My Hippy Years in India' (Bluemoon Books, New York, 1995) what went on in
this small coastal village then... and does now, though in a different form.

To finance their "astounding appetites" for cocaine, heroin, and hashish,
the Goa Freaks spent each monsoon season acting as drug couriers. Soon,
Odzer too is running her own 'scams' -- couriering drugs from here to Canada,
Australia and the US. She almost saw herself die of drugs in Goa.

She returned to the US in 1980, and earned a PhD in anthropology with her
dissertation on prostitution in Thailand ('Patpong Sisters: An American
Woman's View of the Bangkok Sex World', 1994). Later, she even worked for
Daytop, a drug rehabilitation organisation in New York.

As fate would have it, she returned to Goa earlier this decade... only to
die here. Suspectedly, of drugs. (ENDS)

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#9 Nov 25th, 2004, 13:36
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#9
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Separate box # 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Deaths of foreign tourists in Goa

October 2003 01
November 2003 05
December 2003 14
January-February 2004 18

(Source: Goa Police, Foreigners' Branch)

Killer cocktail of prescription drugs, narcotics haunts Goa coastline


------------------------------------------------------------------------


Ummm, with such a high concentration of westerners in goa it's inevitable that the drug death statistics are quite high, drugs are a global issue but seem worse when the problem is multiplied in one area.

Saying that though frederick I bet the deaths & family hardships amongst Feni Addicts in Goa make the deaths from drugs seem like a drop in the ocean,,,,,,,,
#10 Nov 25th, 2004, 13:52
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#10
... yes, DO watch those tides. Off topic, I was swimming in Varkala last week and suddenly found myself 'drifting' sideways and unable to swim as quick as I was drifting. Slight panic set in but my rational sense took over and I swam WITH the current but slightly 'inland' and all was fine.

Those flags DO mean something - and when you think those lifeguards just like the sounds of their whistles - think again !

A couple of days later I met one of the lifeguards in a bar in 'town' and he explained that the currents are only roughly 2 metres 'wide', and the thing to do is to NOT swim against the flow ( a natural reaction ? ) but do as I did and choose a direction. He told me roughly 2 tourists die a year from the currents alone.

On another note, a Spanish girl just died in Varkala from injecting brown sugar. MAJOR incident and the place emptied for a couple of weeks. Guess Kerala is less used to this sort of thing.

4 years ago a guy broke his back in Kovalam 'belly surfing'.

Lesson = respect the sea.

This is a depressing thread.. I'm outa here
#11 Nov 25th, 2004, 15:26
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#11

Talking Documentary research on personal stories in Goa

people die everywhere and not only in GOA. since this subject is for research i thought i would contribute my 2 bits to your fact file.i will not speak for the rest of the world but i can certainly speak about Goa. Living on the busiest street (BAGA) i witness a lot of mishaps (details could be done in privy) there is nothing mysterious about incidents. The travel advisory is warning you of the dangers and if you follow them(even 20-30 %), you could return home with good memories of a vacation.

There could be several reasons. I live close to BAGA beach and have seen a no. of bodies been carried away from here. the water here is shallow to some debt and then there is sudden increase in the debt(dangerous) also under currents here make it potentially dangerous for a dip. there are signboards here and also life guards who try to yell. IF you take the warning serious, u saved your life. You intoxicated and don't give a damn then you gone for the free ride of the arabian see to return like a float.(dont expect the BAY WATCH kind of attn from the guards but they do warn you)

This is about death from waters...

Then we have deaths due to numerous reasons.... i will list them all.

I think most deaths occurs due to high level of alcohol & drug consumption.

SO i would say... know yopur capacity. take what your body can ... love your body and get back safe...
#12 Nov 30th, 2004, 22:47
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#12

Goa's bar/club/drug scene--deaths

I want to thank everyone who has been reading and posting responses to my enquiry. But firstly--gluedtoweb, I'm sorry for the sad loss of your good friend and appreciate you sharing your story. As seventies'hippy said, the seas of Goas beaches can be treacherous & I have been reading many stories of how people do sadly drown in Goa every year.

Its already been pointed out that as with the perils of the sea, the best way to avoid trouble with the drugs scene is to stay out of it. But hindsight is a luxury only the living have. We can put up the red flags to warn people of the dangers, but sometimes people just don't want to see them. Some are just a hell of a lot luckier than others and go on to have a fantastic time and return home with great memories of Goa.

crvlvr asked what's the angle of my story is. Until I feel like I have completed the initial research I loosly outlined, I will hold off from deciding the angle--but I expect it not to be quite that black and white. However, I do think that the more people I am able to contact who have some first hand knowledge of incidents where tourists have died, the better able I am to figure out what the factual focus of the story is.

Thanks fredericknoronha for the article.

I realise there are a number of other reasons for local deaths in Goa, not least of which is traffic incidents. I don't want to minimize the tragedy of those deaths or other losses, but I am looking at a specific spike in deaths due to drugs and therefore need to focus my research on that area.

Can anyone tell me more about Goa's bar and club scene and if people have had experience or know of someone who has had their drink(s) spiked...

If anyone would like to contact me further in confidence at researchgoa@hotmail.com I would greatly appreciate your help.
Thanks again.
#13 Dec 3rd, 2004, 05:02
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#13

Views from Goa on beach safety (you might disagree!)

Each beach has its own character, as Commander Arun Patil, who heads the Goa-based National Institute of Water Sports, points out "For instance, Miramar (a beach just 3 kms from Panjim) is most popular in terms of numbers, because locals too throng there. But the (north Goa beach belt) from Candolim to Calangute and Baga is about the most 'happening'," he says.

Cavelossim in South Goa is a former fishing village that now has a number of luxury resorts. Sinquerim has long been connected with Goa's first luxury hotel, the Taj Aguada, which was venue for the Commonwealth retreat in 1983.

Nearby beaches, from Candolim to Baga, including Calangute, are where most charter tourists head. Further north is Anjuna, the one-time hippie capital of India. This is where the Wednesday 'flea' market -- a Western idea transplanted to tropical climes -- takes place in the fair-weather tourist season.

But not all like the way it has changed. Says Goa-based poet Manohar Shetty: "No one plays Bob Dylan here (any more)." But he goes on to add that "if you are into Goa Trance and Techno, the state's latest large-scale export to the West (of a new brand of music which got its name from Goa), the place pulsates with it." Shetty describes this music as a "new cosmic beat, born in Goa and exported to the UK, Sweden, France, Germany and Finland".

Goa's extreme north and south -- called Pernem and Canacona -- are more recent 'discoveries' for tourism. Northernmost is Tiracol, whose geography suggests it should have been part of the adjoining state of Maharashtra. Its quaint fort is today a heritage hotel.

Goa has some of the safest beaches in the world for swimming, argues prominent salvaging expert and father of local swimming champions Anil Madgavkar. Just about the entire coast of Goa is safe for swimming in the fair weather season, from October to April. Provided, of course, you know how to swim.

"The drowning deaths that occur are because of non swimmers going into water where their legs do not reach, and then panicking and drowning," is
Madgavkar's point. Some tips: Swim only during the high tide, since the current and waves push you towards the beach. In the low tide, the currents pull you out to sea.

Do not swim near the mouth of a river since the current are strongest at this point and you can get dragged out easily. Thus, it is safe to swim at Caranzalem but unsafe at the mouth of river Mandovi at Miramar. Avoid the mouth of all rivers, specially at low tide when the flow of the water current out to sea is the strongest.

Wear a life-jacket if you do not know how to swim. Never panic, if you get
dragged out into deeper water. Try to float on your back or on your tummy and take advantage of waves to swim back into less water.

* Make sure that a life-guard is present on the beach, and do not venture beyond waist deep water if you do not know how to swim.

Madgavkar agrees that it's difficult to rate beaches. But, he adds, his own favourite is Baga, just north of the famed Calangute. His own top ten, ranked for safety and cleanliness, are:

* Baga
* Anjuna
* Cavelossim
* Mobor
* Varca
* Arambol
* Agonda
* Palolem
* Sinquerim
* Vainginim

Watersports available includes diving at Bogmalo; dolfin, crocodile trips and fishing starting from Candolim; island trips, fishing, dolphin trips and watersports from Anjuna; scuba diving at Dona Paula; and other general trips from various points along the coast.
#14 Dec 3rd, 2004, 05:18
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  • crvlvr is offline
#14
Quote:
people die everywhere and not only in GOA
I agree..

With all due respect, the average death rate in the US is ~2/1000 per year. If there are 2,000,000 visitors in Goa, then just the average death rate should 4,000 per year or 333 per month. Compare that with the "accidental" death rate of 1, 5, 14, 18 provided by fredricknoronha and that tells me things in Goa are just fine.

I think this issue is being sensationalized by the media, and now film makers?

We cannot avoid death forever, can we?
Last edited by crvlvr; Dec 6th, 2004 at 05:45..
#15 Nov 8th, 2005, 19:15
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#15

Drowning in Goa

Quote:
Originally Posted by research I am new to this site but my close friend's boyfriend (from London) died in Goa in Nov '03 and this led me to look further into the high rate of tourist deaths in Goa. I am an experienced documentary filmmaker, researching stories of people who have travelled with or personally knew someone who died while holidaying in Goa in the last 18 months (or prior). In researching this sensitive subject I would like to speak to people (from any part of the world) who have a personal experience of this that they are willing to share. This is a serious and sincere request for any help or information of other places to try, it would be greatly appreciated and any information would treated with the utmost sensitivity. I can be reached in confidence at researchgoa@hotmail.com. Thankyou.
Hi, my name is Matthew Stuart,

I've been reading your story on a website about a good friend of yours who drowned.

On the 18th November 2005, we sadly lost our Dad who drowned while fishing off Anjuna beach in Goa.

My dad knew the dangers of the sea's and as visited Goa to the same place every year for the past 16 years
and was born in Ajmeir India in 1943.

Myself and my brothers are trying to come to terms with our tragic loss and want to get to the bottom of what exactly happened.

Dad had alot of good friends in Goa, and apparently was seen beach casting in the same place everyday. On the day he drowned
he apparently was seen trying to free his hook not too far out and decided to go into the water to free his line, at this point he was taken out
by the current and the Lifeguard recovered Dads body 15 minutes later. Dad was an excellent swimmer and as i said, knew the dangers
and warned people of the dangerous sea.

We are trying to find out the local Lifeguard's contact number to ask what he knows about the events before and after.
I've spoke to a good friend of dads who rents out motorbikes in Goa and he told me to try the Tourist Board and that
the Lifeguards are employed by the Indian Government but i can't seem to get a number.

Maybe you can help ?

The British Embassy/Police have opened an enquiry which will proceed next year.

Thank you very much, hope to hear from you soon,



Matthew Stuart

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