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Updated: April 6, 2014 02:23 IST

Methods to tackle borewell accidents still inadequate

    S. Vijay Kumar
    V. S. Palaniappan
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Rescue personnel need more expertise, equipment to deal with such exigencies

At least four children who slipped into poorly closed borewells died in different parts of Tamil Nadu in the last three years.

In most of the cases, rescuers took several hours to reach the children who suffered the ordeal of dying even before first aid could reach them.

No Standard Operating Procedure

Apparently, police sources say, there is no Standard Operating Procedure when it comes to pulling out victims trapped in borewells though private institutions are trying to apply robotic technology.

In the case of three-year-old Madhumitha who stepped into a deep borewell feebly covered in her father’s land in Villupuram district, rescuers reached the spot in less than an hour.

When attempts to reach the girl using a rope failed, Fire and Rescue Service personnel managed to move in an earthmover that was engaged in road laying works nearby.

Work hampered

Rocky terrain delayed attempts to dig a parallel well. Efforts were on till late Saturday to rescue the girl who slipped into the 8-inch borewell and got stuck at 30 feet where the diameter shrunk to six inches.

While pumping oxygen into the borewell, police kept a medical team and ambulance at the scene.

“We neither have the trained manpower nor specialised equipment to rescue people in such circumstances. The fire service personnel are adopting conventional methods. Even the National Disaster Response Force stationed at Arakkonam has no expertise in these cases,” a top police official said.

Successful save

But fire service personnel did save the life of a four-year-old boy A. Guna, who fell into a deep borewell and got stuck at 22 feet, using locally available materials in Krishnagiri district in 2012. Rescuers first dropped a long rope with a knot that gripped the boy’s hand and then used a think steel string to hook his shirt collar and another rope to tie his leg.

All the three were slowly lifted up thus rescuing the boy alive within a few hours, said M. Dakshinamurthy, the then Divisional Fire and Rescue Services Officer.

Mr. Dakshinamurthy, now retired, along with his team received Gallantry Medals from the Chief Minister on September 15, 2013.

Joint Director of Fire and Rescue Services, Western Region, M. Shahul Hameed said that though some gadgets were developed, they had to be tested for safety.

Proposal

Ramesh Kudawla, Additional Director-General of Police/Director of Fire and Rescue Services, said it had been proposed to the government to equip the force with gadgets to handle such situations.

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