NDRF rescues 45 people from stalled boat after 12 hours in Bihar
The country boat with 20 children, 19 women and six men, developed a snag in its outboard motor. It drifted with the river current and its propeller got stuck in underwater vegetation between two palm trees.patna Updated: Aug 23, 2016 10:24 IST
The national disaster response force (NDRF) rescued 45 people early Monday morning from possible death after their boat stalled in swirling flood waters of the Ganga for almost 12 hours at Jagdishpur village of Raghopur, the constituency of Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashi Yadav.
The country boat with 20 children, 19 women and six men, developed a snag in its outboard motor. It drifted with the river current and its propeller got stuck in underwater vegetation between two palm trees.
As efforts by the crew to rectify it failed, passengers panicked and made frantic calls to their relatives and even to media persons, who alerted the district administration and the disaster management department.
NDRF commandant Vijay Sinha was communicated about it at 1.30am. Four NDRF teams then fanned out in different directions from its base in Didarganj in Patna and was able to locate the boat around 3 am and return in about an hour.
“We left at 4pm on Sunday but having travelled some distance our boat developed snag and got stuck between two trees just as we were about to enter the main river. We kept trying to communicate for help but there was no help till around 3.30am,” Surendra Kumar, one of the survivors told HT over phone.
The district administration, however, insists that the villagers had started their journey some time between 7 and 8pm, defying government orders banning plying of boats in the swollen Ganga after 5.30pm.
The misadventure almost cost their lives, but for the timely intervention by the NDRF.
“In pitch dark condition, the boat had also lost its way. We used search lights and megaphones to communicate and succeeded in safely escorting it back to safety,” said assistant commandant, 9, NDRF, Abhishek Rai.
Another of the rescued passengers, Majoj Rai said, “We also called ex-MLA Satish Kumar Singh who got in touch with the SDO who then informed the circle officer,”
The circle officer allegedly took no action and the administration is said to be contemplating disciplinary steps against him.
After the incident, principal secretary, disaster management department of Bihar Vyas Ji has ordered all district magistrates to strictly enforce the cut off time of 5:30pm for plying of boats to prevent a similar incident.