BAGALKOT/BELAGAVI: Alert government officials saved the lives of seven people who were drowning in a four-wheeler in the backwaters of the Hippargi Barrage, near Jamkhandi, in Bagalkot, on Friday. The seven people, said to be residents of Athani in Belagavi, in the age group of 7 to 50, were travelling in a Maruti Gypsy from Athani to Jamkhandi. The driver of the Gypsy, instead of concentrating on the road, was busy watching the overflow of the Krishna river, which had flooded both sides of the road. Suddenly, he lost control of the vehicle, and in no time, had plunged into the Krishna.
Vinod Baragi, 30, a driver with the Department of Agriculture, who was following the Gypsy in a car, watched the drama unfold before his eyes. He quickly stopped the car and alerted the officers and other passersby.
Baragi then jumped into the river to rescue the drowning passengers of the Gypsy. He swam to the vehicle and broke the glasses and pulled out the members along with other rescuers. Nodal officer BJ Malled and Sangmesh Bagli, teacher at a government school, also jumped in to rescue the family, and alerted the ambulance.
He told TNIE, “The people at the spot extended help to rescue the seven people. We could easily pull out six members, including the young boy, but we struggled to rescue the elderly woman who was sitting in the backseat. We broke the glass and brought her out. She was unconscious and was rushed in an ambulance which arrived in time. The family spoke Marathi, and didn’t know Kannada,” Baragi said. The water was less than 10 ft deep, but the vehicle was completely submerged.
The officers and people applauded the efforts and initiative of the driver.Sakurai Maruti Patil (50), who was unconscious, was rushed to hospital, while the remaining six members suffered minor injuries and are said to be out of danger.
Police personnel of Athani Rural Police Station confirmed that no case has been registered as it is neither an accident case nor were any deaths reported. It was a natural incident which happened due to the driver’s fault, police told TNIE.