THRISSUR: Two persons were killed and 25 others sustained injuries as the branch of a huge banyan tree fell over the devotees and percussion artists during the Madathil Varavu procession held as part of Thrissur Pooram at around midnight on Friday.
Thiruvambadi Devaswom Pooram organising committee member Ramesh and Paniyath Radhakrishnan of Poonkunnam met with tragic end as the branch fell on their head while the percussion performance led by Kongadu Madhu was in progress. Around 7 people who sustained serious injuries were shifted to Thrissur Medical College Hospital, 28 others were admitted to district hospital.
Meanwhile, both Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu devaswoms decided to cancel the grand fireworks display. The crackers filled for the display were destroyed in the wee hours of Saturday. Both devaswoms will conduct Pakalpooram parading one elephant each on Saturday.
The Madathil Varavu procession is part of the Pooram rituals of Thiruvambadi Devaswom.
Overall 40 people, including the organising committee members, percussion artists were rescued by the Fire and Rescue Service personnel with the help of police and devotees. There was a delay in rescuing the injured as the falling tree had snapped power lines.
Nobody noticed the falling tree as the percussion ensemble was in progress. Many people, including the famous percussion artist Kongad Madhu, got trapped under the branch. .
The elephant Kuttankulangara Arjun, which was paraded for the function, ran amok as the tree fell just in front of the tusker. It was brought under control later.
Six units of fire and rescue force and disaster management force led the rescue operations.