Chhattisgarh borewell mishap: How Odisha-based NDRF battalion snatched boy from jaws of death

Differently-abled Rahul (speech and hearing impaired) had fallen into the unused borewell in the backyard of his house while playing in Pihrid village on Friday afternoon.

Published: 16th June 2022 08:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2022 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

Efforts on for the fouth consecutive day to save the 11-yr-old boy Rahul Sahu, stuck in a borewell, at Pihrid village in Janjgir Champa district of Chhattisgarh

Efforts on for the fouth consecutive day to save the 11-yr-old boy Rahul Sahu, stuck in a borewell, at Pihrid village in Janjgir Champa district of Chhattisgarh. (Photo| PTI)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The 104-hour-long operation to save 11-year-old Rahul Sahu from a 70-ft deep borewell in Chhattisgarh has put the spotlight on the brave jawans of the Odisha-based 3rd National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Battalion who helped the neighbouring State achieve the almost impossible feat. 

They have earned praises from not just the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Janjgir-Champa Collector Jitendra Kumar Shukla but also each and every citizen of the country who watched the rescue operation with bated breath for the last five days.

Differently-abled Rahul (speech and hearing impaired) had fallen into the unused borewell in the backyard of his house while playing in Pihrid village on Friday afternoon. The 11-year-old braveheart remained alert throughout the five-day ordeal, and so did the 10-member team of NDRF's 3rd Battalion from Mundali, Cuttack, who did not even steal a wink during the operation which lasted till 11.57 pm on Tuesday. 

Counted as one of the toughest rescue operations from a borewell in recent times in the country, it was jointly carried out by the NDRF Battalion, Indian Army, local police, Chhattisgarh’s State Disaster Response Force and Janjgir-Champa district officials.

The NDRF personnel, who played an important role in digging a parallel tunnel and pulling Rahul out, said the mission was extremely challenging as he has developmental disabilities. "Rescue teams were offering him ORS, bananas, juices and checking on him regularly if his response was normal," said a member of the team.

Faced with a herculean task of saving Rahul, the district officials contacted 3rd NDRF Battalion in Mundali on Friday evening. Chhattisgarh and Odisha come under 3rd NDRF’s area of responsibility. The battalion has a regional rescue centre (RRC) in Chhattisgarh’s Bhilai. 

When NDRF snatched Rahul from jaws of death

After receiving the information, at least 20 NDRF personnel left from the RRC and reached the spot at about 11.58 pm on Friday. The rescue teams used ropes to find out the depth of the unused borewell which was dug up to 80 feet about two to three months back and was left uncovered due to unavailability of water.

They realised that the borewell's depth was reduced to about 70 feet as sand fell into it through its opening. The personnel used a CCTV camera and were able to ascertain that Rahul was alive.

Subsequently, another 10-member team from Mundali with expertise in carrying out rescue operations inside borewells was called in. Led by Commandant Vardhman Mishra, second-in-command of 3rd NDRF Battalion, reached there at 7 am the next day.

Initially, they used a rope with a hook to pull the boy out from the borewell but a frightened Rahul did not respond. They said he was lying at the bottom of the borewell having a radius of 20 to 40 inch. On Saturday, a team of robot specialists from Gujarat was roped in for the rescue operation but they too, failed in the mission.

The NDRF personnel then chalked out an alternative plan to dig a tunnel parallel to the borewell, an arduous task at hand considering the hilly nature of the region. After two days, they managed to dig a 70-feet tunnel and reached Rahul on Tuesday night. Rahul was immediately rushed to Apollo Hospitals in Bilaspur where his condition is stated to be stable now.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel will meet the personnel who rescued Rahul. The Mundali NDRF team which reached Sambalpur on Wednesday had to return to Raipur after receiving a call from Janjgir-Champa Collector. They were told that the Chief Minister would meet them in Raipur on Thursday.



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