Uthej Kunta and Shiva Kelligari: Two Indian students drown in St Louis lake over Thanksgiving weekend

Uthej Kunta and Shiva Kelligari: Two Indian students drown in St Louis lake over Thanksgiving weekend
(Representational picture, Getty Images)

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI: Over the Thanksgiving weekend, two University of St Louis’ students drowned in the main channel of the Lake of the Ozarks in Miller County on Saturday, November 26. Uthej Kunta, 24, had been swimming in the lake when he struggled to get out and went under.

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Later, his friend Shiva Kelligari, 25, dived into the water to save him, but in vain. He did not return either, according to St Louis Today.

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Troopers reportedly found Kunta’s body a few hours later and he was pronounced dead at 4 pm. Kelligari's body was found on Sunday, November 27 and he was pronounced dead at 9 am. Both men had come to the US from Telangana, India, to pursue a graduate degree in data science.

"We mourn with Uthej and Shiva’s friends and loved ones, their classmates and professors, the staff members who supported their journeys here at SLU, and all those who grieve," SLU officials wrote in an email to students.

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Mint reported that Telangana State Cabinet Minister KT Rama Rao has assured the students' families of assistance in ensuring that their bodies were brought back to their homes. He said, "I have already asked my team @KTRoffice to assist the family in getting the mortal remains back asap." Sridhar Talluri, member of the Telugu Association of North America, is working on transporting the victims' bodies back.

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“The families are anxious, and they’re devastated,” Talluri said, adding, “All they want is to see their loved ones one last time.” According to a report by FOX2, Talluri believes that the students were not aware of how deep the lake actually was and just wanted to test the waters.

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Many other students have also expressed their shock and grief at the unexpected incidents. “My heart goes out to their family, and my prayers are for them because this is so unexpected,” said Faith Raun, a student at Saint Louis University. “This is really sad and heartbreaking,” said Ragapriya Kovvuri, another student.

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