Coracle tragedy survivor narrates his ordeal

Anxious moments: People watching the search operations launched to fish out bodies of those who drowned when their coracles overturned on Monday, on the bank of Tungabhadra river at Vittalapura in Mundaragi taluk of Gadag district on Tuesday.  

Staff Correspondent

‘I do not know how I reached the river bank’

Maqbulsab Goususab Patil had never tried swimming in a river earlier

‘Although there was a strong current, out of fear I just kept swimming’

Vittalapura (Gadag District): Before being forced to swim across the Tungabhadra river under extreme conditions on Monday, Maqbulsab Goususab Patil of Birabbi in Huvina Hadagali taluk of Bellary district, had never dared to swim in a river.

“I don’t know how I reached the river bank. May be I might have done some good work. That is why Allah saved me,” Standing on the bank of the Tungabhadra river at Vittalapura, Maqbulsab recollected the near-death experience he had on Monday after the coracle he was in overturned. “The two coracles left for Vittalapura at the same time. We were five and there were seven people in the other coracle. There was a strong wind and by the time we reached midstream, a gale overturned the other coracle in which women and a child were there.

In a desperate attempt to save their lives, some of them clung to our coracle. With a sudden jerk our coracle went inside water”, Maqbulsab said.

“I immediately started swimming. My only aim was to catch hold of something by which I could save my life. However, there was nothing to hold. Although there was a strong current, out of fear I just kept swimming although my hands and legs became weak. I was exhausted, I thought I would die. But my desperate efforts brought me to the riverbank. As I came out of the water I saw two others from my coracle had also swum to safety”, he said.

Maqbulsab, a daily wager, was going to Bidaralli with a dual purpose of seeing his daughter Sairabanu, who was married to Mabusab Kharagar, and also for his daily work. He also wanted to visit the Bidaralli Amma temple as it was the new moon day. “One of my friends had asked me to bring the “ravatale” (thread given at the temple, believed by the locals as having great power) and so I wanted to go there”, he said.