Youth trapped in mountain cleft rescued by Army teams
Palakkad(Ker), Feb. 9 (PTI): A trekker trapped in a cleft on a mountain face in Kerala’s Palakkad district for nearly two days was rescued on Wednesday by Army teams, which provided him food and water and then hauled him up to safety.
After the rescue, the Army’s Southern Command tweeted, “#OP_PalakkadIn a daring mission Indian Army Team from #SouthernCommand has rescued the stranded trekker, Mr Babu to safety from the dangerous cliff, across the treacherous rocky mountain face. #WeCare @adgpi.
“#OP_Palakkad In a spectacular action, highly qualified Teams of Indian Army have successfully rescued Mr Babu who slipped off a cliff & was stranded in a steep gorge for over 48 hours. The operation was coordinated by #DakshinBharatArea under the aegis of #SouthernCommand @adgpi.”
After his rescue, the efforts to airlift him to a hospital also saw some drama with the Mi-17 Helicopter of the Indian Air Force, which arrived to take him, being unable to land on the mountain top, as per the visuals on news channels.
The visuals showed the chopper attempting to land on the mountain top and when that could not be done, it gained altitude and circled the mountain before coming back for a second landing attempt.
When the second attempt at landing also did not fructify, Babu was lifted onto the chopper by strapping him to a stretcher-basket of sorts which was then pulled into the aircraft using a pulley in the helicopter.
He was then admitted to the Palakkad district hospital.
Babu’s mother, other family members and relatives, after the rescue, told the media that they had full faith that the Army would save him.
In the morning, visuals on news channels showed the youth being helped up the mountain by two Army personnel, part of a team which specialises in mountaineering and rescue and had arrived here Tuesday night from Bengaluru, by strapping him to one of the rescuers.
The visuals also showed the rescue team, which reached Babu around 9 AM, slowly climbing up by making stops in between to give the youth some rest, before commencing climbing again.
The youth was hauled up to safety by 10.08 AM by the Army personnel and successfully completed the massive rescue effort, perhaps the first of its kind in the state, which also involved local bodies, NDRF, Coast Guard with Air Force also standing by to chip in.
After being hauled up to safety, visuals released by the Army showed a happy and relieved Babu sitting in the middle of his rescuers and kissing them on their cheeks as thanks for saving his life.
“Very thanks to the Indian Army,” he said and also thanked the army personnel who rescued him.
Thereafter, all of them shouted, “Indian army ki jai” and “Bharat mata ki jai”.
Following the rescue, political leaders took to social media to congratulate the Army and its rescue team for bringing the youth to safety.
“Worries have been put to rest as the young man trapped in the Cherad hill in Malampuzha has been rescued.
The treatment & care needed to regain his health will be provided now. Thanks to the soldiers who led the rescue operation and everyone who provided timely support,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) also issued a statement saying that the treatment and care needed by the youth to regain his health will be provided as soon as possible.
“We would like to thank all those who assisted in the rescue operation, including the soldiers of the Madras Regiment of the Indian Army, the soldiers of the Para Regiment Center and the South Indian Area GOC Lieutenant General Arun, who coordinated the rescue operation,” the CMO statement said.
Vijayan, on Tuesday, had sought the help of the Army after efforts by the local authorities and the Coast Guard to rescue the youth were unsuccessful due to the mountain terrain and weather conditions.
Subsequently, the Southern Command had informed the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that a specialised team will be starting from Bengaluru soon and would be arriving at Palakkad by road.
Besides Vijayan, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan also congratulated the Army’s rescue team for rescuing the youth.
In a statement, Satheesan congratulated the rescue team of the Army and everyone else who participated in the efforts to save the youth and said that it was a “historic” mission.
The opposition leader also said that the incident highlighted the shortcomings in the state’s disaster response mechanism, which have been pointed out earlier too, and called for rapid modernisation of the same.
Babu was trapped in a recess on the mountain face, between rocks, in the scorching heat with no water or food since Monday.
According to locals, the youth, along with two others had on Monday decided to climb to the top of Cherad hill there, but the other two abandoned the effort halfway. However, Babu continued to climb to the top, and after reaching there, slipped and fell and got trapped between rocks on the mountain face.