A teenager fell into an open well near a construction site in Liluah in West Bengal’s Howrah district on Sunday, even as the body of four-year-old Mahi was recovered from a borewell at Kasan in Gurgaon, Harayana.
The incident occurred at 3. 30 p.m., but more than six hours later, the body of 17-year-old Roshan Mandal had not been recovered.
Till 10 p.m., the authorities could not ascertain whether or not he was alive.
Mr. Mandal, a construction worker, had slipped into the well more than 40 feet deep, while trying to draw water from it. Because of the well’s very narrow diameter, it was difficult for the firemen, who were the first to reach the spot, to conduct rescue operations. Those engaged in rescue work also struggled as there was toxic gas inside the well.
The Disaster Management Group of the Kolkata Police, believed to have been far better equipped to handle the situation, arrived at the spot only around 9.00 p.m.
Shortly after, a diver was lowered into the well with the help of a rope and a crane, but had to retreat. He was lowered a second time with an oxygen mask.
The incident has exposed the poor state of preparedness on the part of the authorities.
The long delay of the Disaster Management Group is under question with locals pointing out that had operations begun earlier, the situation might have turned out differently.