Journalist drowns as elephant rescue goes wrong on Mahanadi river near Cuttack

A member of the ODRAF went missing after the rescue boat they were in capsized in the river. Four others, including a video journalist, have been admitted to hospital.

Published: 24th September 2021 06:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2021 06:30 PM   |  A+A-

A crowd gathered on the bridge after the elephant (seen in the background) was trapped in the river (Photo | Express)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: An elephant rescue operation on the Mahanadi river at Mundali brige near Cuttack went horribly wrong as a journalist drowned while a member of the ODRAF went missing after the rescue boat they were in capsized in the river.

Four others, including a video journalist, who were on the power boat during the rescue operation of the sub-adult tusker have been admitted to the SCB Medical and Hospital for treatment. The video journalist Prabhat Sinha and another ODRAF member are said to be in a critical condition.

“The journalist Arindam Das was received dead. Doctors tried to revive him for more than an hour but failed,” said SCB emergency officer Bhubanananda Maharana.

ODRAF member Sitaram Murmu, who was part of the rescue team, has remained untraced so far.

An NDRF team along with ODRAF and fire services personnel are continuing the search operation in the swollen river to trace him, police said.

ALSO READ: Forest teams ready for rescue operation after elephant trapped in swollen Mahanadi river

The ODRAF boat was sent for the rescue operation after the elephant was found stuck near the bridge in the flooded river for more than five hours.

The boat, however, capsized when it was about to get closer to the tusker. The engine of the boat also stopped working.

Th boat overturned near the brdge and the crew members couldn’t swim through the water due to its high velocity.

Even the tusker was seen struggling to stand in the high current of the water.

Chandaka DFO Md Jameel who was at the spot said they are hopeful that the tusker will cross the river on its own as elephants are good swimmers.

Meanwhile, a senior OSDMA official admitted that media personnel shouldn’t have been allowed to get into the boat during the rescue operation.

“It was a mistake and the matter needs to be investigated,” he said while requesting anonymity.


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