Tragedy strikes rescue team, but saved in time

Tragedy strikes rescue team, but saved in time

An IAF helicopter lifts a rescue personnel from Tungabhadra river after the boat in which they were travelling capsized near Virupapaura Gadde in Gangavathi taluk of Koppal district. DH Photo/Bharath Kandakur

Six personnel of a rescue team were saved with the help of a helicopter, when the boat in which they were travelling capsized near Virupapura Gadde in Gangavathi taluk of the district on Monday.

The incident occurred when they were on their way to rescue 400 people stranded at Virupapura Gadde.

Those saved are National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) officer Preetham Singh, civil defence officer Chethan, fire force and police personnel H G Gowtham, P Ganesh, Sooganagouda and Nagaraj. They were then taken to a safer place. 

400 saved

Later, over 400 people, including 19 foreigners, who stranded on Virupapura Gadde were rescued with the help of an helicopter, and shifted to the Jindal campus in neighbouring Ballari district. 

Virupapura Gadde was flooded after 2 lakh cusec of water was released from the Tungabhadra dam. The access road to Virupapura Gadde, though Sanapura, had gone under water, cutting off connectivity. 

The personnel had held on to rocks and vegetation in the water and cried for help. Additional forces of the NDRF and the police saved them and admitted them to a hospital for treatment. A large number of people had gathered to witness the rescue operation, conducted using two choppers. 

MP, MLA stranded

Among those stranded were MP Sanganna Karadi and MLA Paranna Munavalli. Food and beverages were dropped on the Virupapura Gadde to help those stuck there. The Navavrundavana Gadde and monuments in Anegondi have gone under water.

One of the rescue personnel is said to have swam for 12 km in the Tungabhadra river, said to be having a number of whirlpools.

Dr B R S Chethan fell into the eriver when the boat capsized. But he swam against the tide to safety, wearing a protective jacket.

He said he had taken part in flood relief operations in Gadag, Shivamogga and other districts and the experience helped in handle the rough waters.