BANGALORE: After a three-and-half-hour break from Monday night’s operations, rescue efforts resumed at 6.30 am on Tuesday. BBMP officials and Fire and Emergency Services personnel had searched about 150 metres of the drain from where the girl fell into the drain, on Monday, but were unable to locate her.
Around 3 am on Tuesday, the search was halted while the BBMP prepared an opening into the bigger raja kaluve.
The Fire and Emergency Service personnel created a bigger opening into the storm water drain on Bannerghatta Road. At 8.30 am, the NDRF arrived and a plan to search the entire 1.3-km stretch was readied.
To ensure that the girl was not washed away while operations were on, the search and rescue team of NDRF began searching from both ends of the storm water drain -- the opening on Bannerghatta Road and the point where it joins Madiwala lake. Two teams of three men each, equipped with oxygen cannisters, got into the storm water drain to look for the body.
However, as the storm water drain was contaminated with sewage water from nearby apartments and homes and as it was a closed space, it was filled with toxic air.
To clear the air, the Fire and Emergency Services had to open up the caps on the ground using an excavator.
These openings on the covered drain, which was used as a road to access nearby apartments and homes along the stretch, allowed some of the fumes to escape. It also provided an exit for the NDRF team in case of an emergency.
Water Reduces, Challenges Remain
By Tuesday morning, after the rain sudsided, the water level in the storm water drain had reduced considerably. However, this was not the only thing standing in the way.
“The rescue operations were challenging mainly because the rain water was mixed with sewage and there were toxic gases in the drain. Our men would have to be exposed to this. By letting the air out through the openings on the road, this was addressed to some extent. However, searching the drain was still challenging because of the silt deposit in the drains, the unevenness in depth of the drain and the numerous pipes that were located along the way,” said P R S Chethan, Officer Commanding, Chief Warden, Civil Defence.
While the Fire and Emergency Service personnel made 20 holes on either side of the road, the NDRF had already entered the openings of the storm water drain on Bannerghatta Road and near Madiwala lake. However, about 30 minutes after their entry, they were pulled out by their commanding officer, who realised that with the openings in the road completed, the men were being put at risk.