Their name means ‘human being’ and a ‘thinker,’ and these canines proved true to their names. They went where no human being had the guts to go and did what no one had thought possible. Meet the two sniffer dogs of the Indian army ‘Manas’ and ‘Manan,’ whose heroic efforts helped save 12 people trapped in a building that had collapsed in Jajmau, on Wednesday. The dogs had also saved 10 people in Pukhrayan where a passenger train had derailed killing 152 people in November last year.
Part of the army’s special canine unit, the two labradors worked for 36 hours without a break in Jajmau where a six-storey building came crashing down on Wednesday killing 10 and injuring 25 people. All the people working on different floors of the building were trapped under many layers of concrete. Reaching them was a herculean task and the NDRF as well as Army jawans pitched in the rescue efforts.
However, despite being armed with gadgets, cutters and earth movers, rescue teams faced challenges in reaching various parts of the debris. In came Manas and Manan who changed the game with their amazing ability to sniff things out.
Three-year-old Swati, who was trapped at the ground floor of the building, was their first success. The dogs’ gestures and sound made the NDRF team take notice and they made an opening in the debris to find the girl alive, unhurt 16 hours after the incident. “I was losing hope and constantly praying to god, at that time they (sniffer dogs) rekindled my hope,” says Sitaram, father of Swati. The girl was taken out at 4 am, six hours after the two sniffer dogs smelt her.
“They are fearless. The dogs went to places where a human will dread going,” said Kaushal Raj Sharma, district magistrate and added further, “They worked tirelessly with their handlers sniffing the places. They helped save many lives,” he says.
The search operation ended on Friday evening. Ten people were killed in the tragedy and 27 were taken out alive—half of them because of the two dogs. Not only the injured, the dogs also helped in discovering at least three bodies in the rubble.
After the gruelling work schedule, Manas and Manas returned to their special unit with the Armymen. Major Srinivas Loo who supervised the operation was full of praise for the canines. Army completed the final leg of the search as both of them didn’t get any smell that could suggest people were still there. The locals cheered for the NDRF men, Army men, and of course Manas and Manan.