BANGALORE: Rescue operations to find nine-year-old Geethalakshmi, who was washed away in a drain, continued on Tuesday with at least 15 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) joining in.
Over 300 personnel from BBMP, NDRF and the Fire and Emergency Services joined the operations on Day 2. However, rescue efforts were called off after nearly 12 hours on Tuesday alone.
Also Read: Girl's Parents Cling on to Hope
“Our search and rescue team of eight men combed the entire 1.3-km stretch but were unable to find the body. With light failing and rain resuming around 4.30 pm, we called off rescue operations for today,” said P R S Chethan, Commanding Officer and Chief Warden, Civil Defence.
The operation will continue on Wednesday with BBMP having to play a bigger role. “We have covered up to Madiwala lake. From here, part of the storm water drain empties into the lake while another canal joins the storm water drain at Silk Board junction and from there to Agara lake. Finally, this stretch leads to Challaghatta valley. These parts have to be searched now,” Chethan said.
Aunt’s Statement Recorded
JP Nagar police on Tuesday recorded the statement of the girl’s aunty Lakshmi. According to Lakshmi, she and Geethalakshmi were visiting a relative in NS Palya when the girl fell into the drain and was washed away.
“Near the transformer, one slab on the footpath was kept straight while the other was a little tilted. There was a V-shaped gap between the two slabs. Since it was dark and raining heavily, water had been filled to the brim and it was impossible to see this. Geetha slipped on a patch of wet grass and fell into the gap between the two slabs,” police officials quoted the aunt as saying.
Hearing Lakshmi’s screams, an auto driver, who was passing by, ran ahead and tried to grab Geetha. “He got a handful of her hair, but the girl slipped away before he could get a proper grip. They ran ahead, but were unable to locate her. This is when the fire services were informed,” police said.
Case Against BBMP Officials Likely
While police have booked a missing complaint, once rescue efforts are completed, BBMP officials are likely to be in the dock.
“Considering that it was gross negligence by BBMP officials, they will be charged,” police said.