Survivor, neighbour recount tragedy

Survivor, neighbour recount tragedy

Survivor, neighbour recount tragedy

Ravi, the lone survivor of the tannery mishap that killed 10 people, was sleeping next to his colleagues when a loud noise woke him up.

“It was dark. I saw a huge wave approaching us. I tried to wake my colleagues, but failed. I somehow managed to climb the roof immediately,” said the 40-year-old.

He said he saw his colleagues get buried instantaneously. “I shouted and shouted, but no one came to our rescue,” he said. Boopalan, who was sleeping in the next compound, was also woken up by the sound.

Initially, he thought a tsunami had struck Ranipet. He ran out immediately, and has hit by the effluent's stench.

Only when he went near the effluent treatment plant did he realise the magnitude of the disaster. He could hear voices shouting for help. However, he realised he could do very little to help the victims, and immediately called up the fire service, which was located near the mishap site.

“I heard a huge noise. I thought some building had collapsed next door. However, when I came out, I saw the water entering the factory next to my building,” said the 35-year-old.

He said he could go to the next compound as the effluent was flowing like a river. “From my compound, I saw someone on the roof shouting for help. Since it was dark, I called the fire service immediately,” he added.

“Our fire station located very near. We arrived just two minutes after the mishap. Though we initially thought we could approach the spot easily, it was very difficult to wade through the effluent,” said senior fire service personnel J Naveen.

His co-worker Y Prakash, said: “Pulling out the bodies was a struggle due to the thickness of the fluid. It was difficult to identify the bodies too.”

Prakash said it took them nearly three hours to get the bodies out.