Delhi Police head constable Murari Lal went beyond his call of duty and swam through a flooded Pul Prahladpur underpass in south Delhi to rescue 70 schoolchildren and their teachers trapped in a school bus on Wednesday.
Assistant sub-inspector Chokhe Lal also helped Murari.
The bus was taking students of a Faridabad school on an educational tour to a school in Noida. It broke down in the waterlogged underpass at 9.40 am.
The occupants started screaming for help as the children were afraid to get out and water began to rise inside.
Several bystanders witnessed the incident, but nobody mustered the courage to help the occupants.
At 9.44, a passerby informed the police control room. The call was marked to a PCR van stationed near Okhla T-point, two kilometres from the underpass.
Head constable Murari Lal was the in-charge of the van and ASI Chokhe was the driver.
Constable Murari told HT, “All roads leading to the underpass were already choked with traffic. We took an alternative route and reached the spot in 16 minutes after passing through narrow lanes. The bus was half filled with water and the children were screaming for help.”
Murari removed his shoes, raincoat and service pistols, kept them in the PCR van, and jumped into the water. He swam to the bus and comforted the children.
“I went to the rear seats of the bus and removed the glasses of one of the windows. I went out and rescued one of the children through the window. I rescued 16 children, one-by-one, carrying them on my shoulders,” said Murari.
Murari’s courageous act inspired four or five youths in the crowd to jump into the water and help him.
Meanwhile, cops from the local police station arrived and rescued children and two women teachers.
“We formed a human chain to make our rescue operation more effective,” he said.
The operation continued till 11.30 am. The rescued children shook hand with the cops, especially Murari, for saving their lives. A few of the teachers broke down while thanking Murari.
Senior police officers congratulated Murari and his colleague for showing remarkable courage. On Friday, police commissioner, Alok Kumar Verma, will reward Murari and Chokhe.
Wednesday’s heavy downpour had led to water logging in various parts of the city and caused huge traffic jams across the city.
Some underpasses across the city were flooded with several feet of water.
A DTC bus with over 25 passengers was trapped in the flooded Zakhira underpass. Delhi Traffic Police and fire department officials pulled out the passengers using a ladder from the bus’ roof.