Lonavala waterfall accident: How to stay safe while visiting waterfalls in monsoon season?

The family caught up in the flash floods at Bhushi Dam (left). The waterfall near Bhushi Dam in Lonavala. Photo: Screengrab/Shutterstock/Raksha Shelare

While waterfalls can be enjoyed at their majestic best during the monsoon season, they are also highly dangerous at the time due to the possibility of flash floods, slippery terrains, strong currents, falling rocks and even lack of enough safety measures. On Sunday, five members of a Pune-based family were swept into the Bhushi Dam of Maharashtra, while they were enjoying a waterfall in the Lonavala region. During the rainy season, such incidents are often reported from waterfall spots across the country. It is possible to enjoy the falls without risking your life, following some simple measures. Make sure that you do the following during your next monsoon trip to your favourite waterfall:

Go after checking the weather forecast
If there is a chance for heavy rainfall, storms or floods on the day of your trip to the waterfall, postpone the trip. Adverse weather brings with it the risks of flash floods, landslips or landslides, poor road conditions, limited visibility and at times, increasing presence of animals. Finding help in case of an emergency can also become challenging during rainy weather. 
Avoid off-road adventures
It is fun to stray off the designated paths to explore the origin of waterfalls and track their trails, but the monsoon season is the worst time to do it due to safety risks. Therefore, stick to the officially permitted path. Also, pay attention to the instructions of local people, guides, signages in the regions and other officials on duty to avoid any kind of accidents. 

Avoid venturing into the waterfall pools
The natural pools formed under the waterfalls can have strong currents during the monsoon season and they can be dangerous, even if you know swimming. Moreover, if the water levels increase suddenly, it can become difficult for others too to help you. The quality of the water can also be poor and this can bring its own set of infections and diseases like leptospirosis. If you can't resist entering the pool, make sure you are alert, check the depth, remain in a shallow area, wear protective clothes and footwear, and supervise children if you have them with you. 
Avoid night travel
Ensuring safety can be risky even during the daytime around waterfalls in the monsoon season. Therefore, checking out these spots at night should be completely avoided. Not only will you struggle with limited visibility and will be prone to increased risks of accidents, falls or slips, but it will also be difficult to navigate through its trails even when well-lit. Nocturnal animals in the area can also get disturbed if you roam around waterfalls at night and this can also be a safety risk. In case of an emergency, help also might not come in on time during the night. 

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