Palakkad: At a time when an entire state is bearing the brunt of relentless heavy rains, flash floods and landslides, Kerala Fire Force with the help of officials and locals rescued an 8-month pregnant woman and her 11-month-old child from Attapadi here in the district on Saturday.
The woman Lavanya, her husband Murukesan and their 11-month-old child Maina were among the seven people rescued in a daring two-hour operation by the Kerala Fire Force on Saturday amid cheers by crowd. Maina’s grandmother Pazhaniyamma was also among those rescued.
They were holed up at Pattimalam Konar Thuruth, a tiny island in the swollen Bhavani river, near Attapadi. Due to heavy rains in the area for the past three days, the river was in spate. The authorities had tried since Friday to convince them to shift to a safer place, but they refused.
"We urged them to move to safer place. But Lavanya, the pregnant woman, was not sure about effect of the safety harness belt on the baby," said the Fire Force official who coordinated the rescue.
"Today the river was in spate and the district collector and police authorities gave us the permission to forcefully rescue them. We had to speak to them for two hours before they agreed. One by one, we took them over the swelled river, without any issues," said the officer.
First, Pazhaniyamma was brought to the other side using a safety harness set up on a rope tied across the raging Bhavan river. The elderly women broke into tears on reaching safety.
Next it was the turn of Murukesan to reach safety carrying little Maina. While officials, public representatives and local people watched anxiously, little Maina was enjoying the ride and the view. She did not even cry and was all smiles when Murukesan handed her over to Pazhaniyamma.
Then came the moment of truth. Lavanya was bucked in inside the safety harness with everyone nervously watching on either side of the river anxious about her physical and mental health. But the officials pulled her across safe and sound.
The officials had made elaborate arrangements and had kept an ambulance and a gynaecologist ready. The moment Lavanya reached the other side crossing the 25-metre wide river, she was taken to the nearest hospital. "She is doing fine," said the officer.
On the other side of the river there were a huge crowd, including half a dozen good local swimmers who knew the river well. They were ready for any emergency. But it was a perfect rescue act, to great relief of rescue team, the waiting crowd and those rescued.
(With inputs from IANS)