Injured GREF engineer rescued by ITBP 40 hrs after quake

While Vijay lost his life, an injured Samar had to spend 40 hours under a vehicle to escape the fury of the earthquake until he was rescued by a team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel in Pegong, the worst hit area in the temblor that wreaked havoc in Sikkim.

The 11th battalion of the ITBP, which itself suffered in the wake of the quake, got a crash message from GREF headquarters based in Pegong about its two engineers who had gone on a pinic on the ill-fated day and had since not returned to their base.

On September 19, rescue team of ITBP personnel led by Assistant Commandant Lokinder Singh spotted a vehicle across a tributary of Teesta river, but could not cross due to the swollen waters despite several attempts.

After a patient wait, the ITBP rescue team managed to cross the river on September 20 morning using ropes and in the process one of its jawan nearly got washed away but was saved.

On reaching the spot, they found that Vijay Pal had died in a landslide, while Samar had hid himself under the vehicle in an injured condition. He was immediately given first-aid and he told the ITBP rescue team that he had been under the vehicle since the quake hit the area on Sunday at 6.11 PM.

He was rescued at noon on September 20 and later flown to hospital. The ITBP personnel took him in a helicopter of Army Aviation Corps flown by Captain Biplab who managed to keep the aircraft barely a feet above the ground as there were no landing facilities.

After the 6.8 magnitude quake, ITBP personnel were the first to launch search and rescue operations in Pegong area of north Sikkim which has been "badly affected" despite its two buildings having collapsed.

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