They surmounted a raging river, pitch darkness and lashing rain to save a family of five

Fire and rescue service personnel rescue the family stranded in Pottal Colony in Tirunelveli on late Wednesday night.   | Photo Credit: HAND OUT

In a daring operation that took place in pitch darkness, lashing rain and a dangerously flowing Tamirabharani, a team of fire and rescue services personnel saved a family from near death.

When a paddy harvester driver, Aravind, 28, living with his wife Muthumari, 25, children - Suresh, 7, and Baby, 5, - and his mother Ramalakshmi, 60 at his house near a temple at Pottal Colony near Ariyanayagipuram, received an alert around 3 p.m. on Wednesday that Tamirabharani would be in spate due to huge discharge of water from Papanasam and Manimuthar dams, he dismissed it. However, around 5 p.m. he realised he was wrong.

“With the water level increasing menacingly, the river started coming towards our house forcing us to move out around 7 p.m. As the temple is situated in an elevated area, we went there and I constructed a ‘paran’ (an elevated platform usually built in the fields to monitor the invading cattle) with poles, wooden planks and sarees. Since I had sent an SOS through my mobile phone, the officials were constantly in touch with me,” Mr. Aravind recalls.

Meanwhile, Collector V. Vishnu and Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan held immediate discussion with the Fire and Rescue Services officials, including District Fire Officer Sathyakumar, Station Officer, Ambasamudram, B. Subramanian, who have 35-years of experience in rescue operations.

With Albert Raja, a fire and service personnel, manoeuvring the inflatable boat in pitch darkness, Mr. Subramanian and his colleagues Thirumalaikumar, Ramesh, Murugan and Kombaiah and a youth from Pottal Colony started the rescue operation. When the 5-member rescue team boarded the boat, they found that they had only five life jackets, 58-year-old Mr. Subramanian, gave his life jacket to the local youth.

After multiple attempts, the rescue team managed to reach the ‘paran’ at around 1 a.m.

“The gap between the ‘paran’ and the river was just 5-feet when the rescue team arrived. It’s a second birth for my family,” says Mr. Aravind, who is now in his brother-in-law’s house at Thiruppanikarisalkulam.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 4:19:28 AM |

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