A family belonging to Karachi and residing in different parts of the city got together at Hawke’s Bay for a reunion on Saturday. Sadly, the picnic turned into a tragedy as 12 members drowned in the sea which was very rough at that time.

According to reports, some members of the family went into the sea for swimming, despite warnings posted at several places along the beach about not going into the water. In an attempt to save a few members who were drowning, the rest also jumped in and drowned to their deaths.

Lifeguards at the beach fished out the bodies of 12 victims who were aged between 12 and 50 years of age. However, they fear that there could be more victims.

“We have retrieved 12 bodies thus far,” lifeguard Muhammad Asad told a local newspaper. “There could possibly be more bodies as it was a big family.”

Asad said they called off the search for more bodies after darkness fell.

“The family belonged to the Nazimabad neighbourhood of Karachi. And they had come to Hawke’s Bay for a family picnic,” said Niaz Panwar, the SHO of Mauripur police station. “The incident was reported at 7pm.”

The victims have been identified as Wahaj Shahzad, 28, Umair Jameel, 30, Ali Noor, 25, Saud Shoaib, 50, Taha Minhaj, 20, Filza Saud, 17, Atif Naseem, 30, Hamza, 12, Ebad Saud, 15, and Ali Zameer, 26. The bodies were first driven to Mauripur’s Murshid Hospital, from where they were shifted to Civil Hospital for medico-legal formalities.

There has been a ban placed on swimming in the coastal areas of Sindh since June but people pay little heed to the warnings and risk their lives in the rough sea.