Three men died of suffocation at Mannotukonam near Vizhinjam here after being trapped in a deep well for nearly two hours on Sunday afternoon.
They were identified as Praveen, 27, S/o Chandran, Paruvila Puthenveedu, Mannotukonam; Satheesh Mohan aka Tinku, 22, S/o Mohanan, Attarumoola, and Sreejith Chandran aka Kuttan, 28, S/o Chandrasekharan, Arappurakkal, Payattuvila, the police said.
The mishap occurred around 1.30 p.m. as the trio were cleaning a well at Praveen’s aunt’s home. Praveen had fallen into the well after a wooden plank erected midway collapsed. Satheesh and Sreejith had lowered themselves into the well to save him, but were also trapped. Firemen from the Vizhinjam unit of the Fire and Rescue Service rushed to the spot after the local people alerted them. They brought out Satheesh, but by then it was too late. Firemen, however, refused to go down again as they did not have artificial breathing apparatus. This angered the people who blockaded the road and created a ruckus.
Later, fire units from the Chakkai were sent to the spot. Although the remaining two men were taken out by this team, one had died by then and the other died on the way to hospital.
According to Suvi M S, the station officer of the Chakkai unit who led the operation, the well was at least 35 feet deep and had no oxygen. The well was made up of concrete rings halfway from the top and a wooden plank was placed in the middle. ‘’
The well was narrower than usual and it was quite difficult even with our special equipment to go down,’’ he said.
Praveen had presumably stood on this plank which gave way.
Later, after the Vizhinjam unit brought out the first man, the mud walls on the lower end of the well was in danger of collapsing.