UPDATE: Indiana Conservation Officers found the bodies of 19-year-old Siddhant Shah and 20-year-old Aryan Vaidya just after 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said in a release.
Conservation officers discovered the students’ bodies in 18 feet of water in an area east of the Paynetown Marina.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Rescue crews on Monday used sonar technology to try and find two Indiana University students who drowned in Monroe Lake.
Saurabh Gupta, a family friend of one of the students, said “For something like this to happen it just tears my heart out. No parent deserves to go through this.”
Gupta on Monday came to the reservoir about 10 miles southeast of Bloomington as moral support for the family as it watched rescue crews fight the elements in the search for 19-year-old Siddhant Shah and 20-year-old Aryan Vaidya.
Lt. Angela Goldman of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said, “The west winds are creating some pretty decent waves. It’s making it difficult for us to use our equipment.”
Goldman told I-Team 8 that search crews were relying on sonar to scan the bottom of the lake for the students. “With the waves crashing, that is distorting that image and making it very difficult to use.”
The two students were part of a group that rented a double-decker boat on Saturday. The boat was anchored as some of the group hopped in the lake to go swimming.
I-Team 8 was told conditions were windy and the water was chilly on Saturday. Goldman said, “The individual that was struggling didn’t make it back to the boat. They couldn’t get him back to the boat and then ultimately one of the people that jumped in to help didn’t make it back to the boat either.”
Natural Resources conservation officers found alcohol aboard the boat, but did not know Monday if alcohol played a role in the drownings.
Neither of the boys was wearing a life jacket. Goldman said, “One of the victims was a good swimmer, and, even though you know that you’re a good swimmer, wear that life jacket, especially out here on the lake.”
That is the message Gupta is also taking away from this tragedy. He wants parents to reinforce the importance of life jackets with their kids on the lake this summer “Please, tell them to wear a life jacket. Please.”
Natural Resources said Tuesday’s better weather could help search efforts.