A man and his four-year-old daughter were killed when the SUV they were travelling in fell into a 1,000-ft deep gorge at Kariyadu, near Wagamon in Idukki district in the wee hours of Wednesday.

The victims, Valliyamthadathil Saji Joseph, 41, and his youngest daughter Claint, 4, were residents of Kattappana and Saji owned a business there.

They were travelling from the town to Kottayam Medical College to seek treatment for Saji’s elder daughter, Siona, who was down with fever. Saji’s wife, Prasoon, 37, and Siona were seriously injured in the accident. The family had started the journey from their home at 2 a.m. and the accident occurred around 3.30 a.m. The police said heavy fog in the early hours might have hindered Saji’s vision, who was in the driver’s seat.

The vehicle was first noticed by policemen who were on escort duty. They initiated the rescue operation with the help of people. Later, Fire and Rescue Services personnel from Mundakayam and Eratupetta reached the spot and took over. Mathew Joseph, a civil police officer attached to Eratupetta police station, who started the rescue operations, told The Hindu over phone that it was a panchayat member who informed them of the accident and helped gather local residents.

It the rescue team almost an hour-and-a-half to carry the victims to the road. While Saji’s body was recovered from the vehicle at the bottom of the gorge, the others were thrown off the vehicle on impact. Both the children were alive when rescued.

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