Karnataka

Around 250 tourists brought to safety from island near Hampi

Stranded tourists being rescued from Veerapur Gaddi island near Hampi on Monday.

Stranded tourists being rescued from Veerapur Gaddi island near Hampi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: SPECIALARRANGEMENT

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Two IAF helicopters and one of the Navy were summoned to help

Of the 340 or so people stranded at Veerapur Gaddi near Hampi, around 250 were rescued by teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Civil Defence Force, and Fire and Emergency Services personnel by Monday afternoon. Among the rescued were one Swiss, one American, five French and 11 German tourists.

Three choppers — two of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and one of the Navy — were summoned to help.

The IAF choppers made several trips to airlift people from the island and drop them at the Jindal airstrip, while the Navy copter, which could land on any flat surface, dropped them on safe roads. “The elderly, the sick, children and women were airlifted first. There are still some more people on the island. I hope most of them will be evacuated today (Monday) itself if the weather cooperates,” said P. Sunil Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Koppal.

Because of the downpour in the Tungabhadra catchment area in the Western Ghats and Malnad region for a week, the Deputy Commissioner had asked district officials to alert people along the riverbanks downstream of the reservoir.

The authorities had used traditional methods such as beating drums and announcing alerts at Virupapur Gaddi, asking people to move to safer planes.

The officer himself visited the island two days ago and issued an order asking the owners of all hotels and resorts to close down their establishments.

“However, the hotels and resorts did not do so. They even convinced the tourists who had arrived for the weekend on Friday to continue staying, on the promise that they themselves would get them back to the mainland using private boats,” Mr. Sunil Kumar said.

He told The Hindu that he would take stringent action against the owners of such establishments.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 12:05:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/around-250-tourists-brought-to-safety-from-island-near-hampi/article29036415.ece

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