An inquest into the death of two men who drowned while attempting to cross a sandbar south of Perth has heard that the Department of Environment and Conservation was urged to close it to the public, due to adverse weather conditions.

Pavan Kumar Ganasala, 37, and Praveen Kumar Pagadala Shiva, 31, and their wives were swept off the sandbar while trying to walk between Penguin Island and the mainland in 2010.

The two women survived but the men drowned.

The investigating police officer, senior constable Fiona Thorpe, told the Coroner's Court the popular crossing was not closed at the time despite a number of people being rescued from it that afternoon.

She said DEC, which manages the island, was contacted and urged to close the sandbar by ferry operators.

The decision was eventually made to close the crossing but the men drowned before rangers could erect the signs.

Senior constable Thorpe told the court she has no doubt the men would not have crossed if the closed notices were up.

The court was told there are a number of signs in the area that warn people not to attempt the crossing and to take a ferry instead.

Mr Pagadala-Shiva's wife, Madhavee Adapar, told the court she never noticed the signs and thought it was safe to cross because dozens of others were doing so.

She broke down while describing how the group got into difficulty as the water became deeper.

Her husband put her on his shoulders to save her before he and his friend drowned.

Ms Adapar told the court she wants the sandbar closed permanently to prevent future deaths.

 

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