Dad and son ‘were holding hands’ before island drowning
A GRIEF-stricken mother has remembered her "good" son and husband who tragically drowned in the surf at Phillip Island on Christmas Eve.
Rahul Verma, 20, and his dad, Charan, 45, were holding hands in the shallows with younger brother Anuj, 11, when they were knocked down by a large wave and dragged out to sea.
The victims' mother and wife, Nishi, watched on helplessly from the beach as swimmers and volunteer lifesavers tried to save her family. Sadly both men could not be revived.
Her youngest son was rescued and taken to the Monash Children's Hospital in a stable condition.
Nishi told the Herald Sun: "They were just holding hands and a huge wave dragged them into the ocean and they were split apart.
"It all happened before my eyes … I couldn't do anything."
Nishi said she and her surviving son, who has been released from hospital, were struggling to cope with their shock deaths.
"I am not really good. I am still in shock," she said.
"My son was a good son … a very good son.
"My husband was a very good man and father. He would never put his own children in danger."
The Cranbourne East family of four were on their way to the popular Penguin Parade attraction when they made a last-minute decision to visit the The Colonnades beach.
"We had some time so we decided to go there (the beach) because it was on the way … then this happened," she said.
The father and son became distressed after being knocked over by a wave before 5.30pm.
"It was just an accident … bad luck and nothing else."
Rahul recently left the Australian Army in Townsville to be closer to his family.
He had plans to apply to the police force next year.
His best friend Ahmet Aslan said he was a great friend and loved his family dearly.
"He was great person … a shoulder to cry on," he said.
"He had little dreams like growing a beard after leaving the army because they didn't let them there.
"He was full of life and laughter.
"He was taken so soon he had dreams of getting married and having children.
"I still cannot comprehend that his not alive."
Charan had posted images of he and his wife on social media captioned: "I love my family."
The bodies of both men will be flown to India for burial.
Six people have drowned in Victorian waters in the past nine days, prompting urgent calls for swimmers to remain vigilant in the water.
On Christmas Day a 64-year-old diver drowned off the rocks at Cape Schanck as his helpless diving buddy watched on.
Indian tourist Harmanjot Singh Walia, 27, drowned at the popular MacKenzie Falls attraction near the Grampians on Boxing Day as his wife and friends watched on.
Mother of two Josephine Williamson, 34, drowned while trying to rescue a child in distress outside her home in Forge Creek on December 29.
And Maxi Tavai, 45, drowned while swimming in Paynesville after suffering a heart failure on New Year's Day.