Mission Possible: A rundown on how Kerala trekker was rescued

Here are the details of the 45-hr-ordeal of trekker R Babu, 23, after he slipped and fell from Kurumbachi hills near Malampuzha into a crevice and how mountaineers from the Army rescued him

Published: 10th February 2022 06:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2022 06:38 AM   |  A+A-

An Air Force helicopter airlifting Babu from Kurumbachi hills to the BEML helipad in Kanjikode

By Express News Service

Here are the details of the 45-hr-ordeal of trekker R Babu, 23, after he slipped and fell from Kurumbachi hills near Malampuzha into a crevice and how mountaineers from the Army rescued him

February 7
11am: R Babu of Cherad in Malampuzha starts climbing Kurumbachi hill along with 3 friends 

1.30pm: He reaches around 200 metres near the summit. As his friends were resting, he started returning  
2pm: He slips and falls into a crevice around 280 metres below the hill summit 

2.15pm: He calls friends and sends photos of the spot to help them locate him 

3pm: Friends inform his mother Rashida about the incident. The family informs the police and Fire and Rescue Services Department 

4pm: Police, Fire and Rescue Services, forest department personnel and residents start climbing the hill to rescue him 

7pm: Rescue mission called off. A team stays atop the hill to ensure his safety

February 8 
9am: NDRF, police and Fire and Rescue Services start rescue operation 

10am: Drone deployed to identify the place where he is trapped. Babu waves his shirt at rescuers
Noon: Collector seeks support of Navy and Coast Guard 

3pm: Coast Guard helicopter reaches spot. Mission aborted as helicopter experienced downdraft and wobbling 

4pm: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeks support of Army  

7.30pm: Army mountaineering team from Ooty and commandos from Bengaluru start for Palakkad

11.30pm: Army team starts climbing hill

February 9 
2am: Army team reaches near spot where Babu is trapped 

9.30am: Commandos trained in mountaineering climb down from the summit of the hill, reaches near him, give water and food 

10.20am: Team brings him to the top of the hill 

Noon: Army team takes him to BEML helipad at Kanjikode in a helicopter

1pm: Babu admitted to Palakkad district hospital ICU

An aerial view of army jawan Balakrishnan
(in circle) rescuing Babu through the
steep Kurumbachi hills on Wednesday 

‘I thank almighty and all who supported us’
Palakkad: Rashida, mother of Babu who was stuck in a rock cleft after falling from the top of Kurmabachi hills, was overjoyed after her son’s rescue. Since Monday evening, she had not eaten any food properly. Around 11.30am on Wednesday, she answered a video call from Babu. Subsequently, she said, “I was happy to hear his sound once again. I  would like to thank the personnel of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, police, fire force, forest department and NDRF and the civil defence volunteers for their service.

“I thank the almighty for the support as we do not have the wherewithal for undertaking an operation of this kind to rescue our son.”

Later, she complained of dizziness and swooned. Around 2pm after her son reached the district hospital, Rashida also arrived and sat by his side as he was under observation.

Army, NDRF personnel honoured
Palakkad: A reception was accorded to Army and NDRF personnel, who rescued Babu from the steep hills. They were garlanded by local people after they successfully completed their rescue operation. The Malampuzha panchayat authorities and MLA Shafi Parambil handed over mementos to them. Local people chanted Vande Mataram and congratulated them.

SDMA draws Opposition flak
T’Puram: The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has come under flak from the Opposition for not rising up to the occasion to save Babu. While congratulating the rescue mission of the Army, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan posed a serious question about the SDMA’s lack of professionalism. Satheesan opined that it was an unparalleled rescue mission rendered by the Army. “A big salute to Babu, who displayed exemplary courage. At the same time, SDMA’s methods and lack of professionalism evoke a serious question  at this juncture. I had raised this issue before too but to no avail”, said Satheesan. 

Coordinated effort behind success, says Malayali Army team leader
Palakkad: The success of the rescue operation in the Kurumbachi hills at Cherad was due to the team effort, said Lt-Col Hemant Raj who led the nine-member team from the Madras Regimental Centre in Coonoor. Lt-Col Hemant Raj told TNIE, it was a coordinated effort by the NDRF, police and fire force personnel, civil administration officials and local residents. Lt-Col Hemant Raj hails from Thavalakuzhi in Ettumanoor and is the son of retired excise inspector T K Rajappan and C S Lathika Bhai. After passing out from Sainik School, Kazhakoottam, he was trained at the National Defence Academy in Pune and at the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun. Lt-Col Hemant Raj who is currently in the Madras Regimental Centre in Coonoor said, “We are a nine-member team who took part in the Cherad operations. All of us are mountaineers and have passed the high-altitude warfare course.” He had received the President’s medal for distinguished service in 2019 for his service during the Kerala flood of 2018. He had headed the flood relief operations in Alappuzha and Chengannur.


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