TWO best friends perished in a Christmas Day picnic tragedy in the Carreras River in Nadi.
Apart from being neighbours, close friends and school mates — Alvish Narayan, 15, and Kartick Sen, 16 — were also the only male child in their respective families.
Both students of Votualevu College were described by family members as good students, avid soccer players and helpful to their younger siblings.
Alvish's father, Ravin Narayan, found it difficult to contain his emotions when describing the events that led to his son's death.
"I called him at about 4pm to ask of his whereabouts and then I went shopping. Half an hour later, I received a call that he was dead," he said. "I couldn't believe it."
Mr Narayan said his son was a confident swimmer and two other friends that were at the riverside during the incident said Alvish had died while trying to help Kartick who could not swim.
They both went under the water at the deep end of the river.
Kamal Sen, father of Kartick, said his son's parting words would forever haunt him.
"He bought me some grog and set up the stereo where I was hosting some close friends. We had no electricity and I reminded him of this when he set up the radio. But he told me the power would soon be switched on and we could enjoy some music while drinking grog. That was the last I time I saw and spoke to him," he said.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said post-mortem examination would be conducted and investigations were still continuing.
The drowning death toll is 67 compared to 38 for the same period last year.