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A daredevil rescue operation to facilitate a final journey

The team also saved two elderly people from a flat near Aluva Manappuram by crossing the river. Though Vijayan was appreciative of the support people offered, he also spoke of a bitter experience.

Published: 27th August 2018 01:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2018 01:36 AM   |  A+A-

NDRF team with official G Vijayan  A Sanesh

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Chalakudy river was in spate and strong currents swirled around them. But the four NDRF men in a dinghy were focused on the mission as they navigated over the river for 6 km to reach a partially submerged house where a family had awaited help for 42 hours with the corpse of an elderly woman.

After an operation that took eight hours - starting at 11.30 pm on August 16 and completed by around 8 am - during which time the dinghy got punctured, the NDRF men, deputy commandant G Vijayan, jawans T M Siju, N P Biju and Borde Baban Utham Rao, managed to get to the house. They wrapped the body in a bed sheet and took it to the Puvathussery St Joseph Church where Fr George Palamattom conducted the funeral.

“The family of Seleena, who died on August 15, had contacted the Ministry of Home Affairs and the information was passed on to us at around 11 pm,” said Vijayan. “We set off by bus at 11.30 pm. All the roads were flooded. When we reached Poikattussery, water started entering the bus and we were not able to proceed further. It was 3.30 am.

The local people arranged a Taurus truck in which we continued our journey up to Parakkadavu. Then we went in a dinghy and got to the church by 6 am and from there to the house.” They climbed the house through the parapet to get the body.  Around 1,000 people were stranded in the church without food and water. The NDRF team informed the Navy, who airdropped food. “This was the most challenging operation for us as we had to fight the strong currents of the raging river. We couldn’t take Seleena’s husband Varghese and their son to the church for the funeral as it was risky,” he said.

The team also saved two elderly people from a flat near Aluva Manappuram by crossing the river. Though Vijayan was appreciative of the support people offered, he also spoke of a bitter experience. Three NDRF men were held captive by a group of youngsters at Purayar as they were stranded without food and water for three days. “I jumped into the river to escape from the people who were agitated,” said Biju, a jawan.

to the aid
 The NDRF has deployed 58 teams in Kerala for the rescue operation, which is the biggest deployment for the force till date. Each team comprises 42 members. The team rescued 536 persons and evacuated 18,077 in the past week. They recovered 10 corpses and provided medical aid to 5,071 people



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