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Punjab borewell death: NDRF blames ‘sack, sandy soil’ for failed rescue op

NDRF deputy inspector general (operations) Randeep Singh Rana, who closely monitored the 110-hour-long rescue operation, said that circumstances were such that both scientific methods and conventional wisdom failed to work.

chandigarh Updated: Jun 12, 2019 13:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
punjab borewell death,minor dies in borewell in punjab,sangrur
Two-year-old Fatehveer was stuck for 110 hours in 150-feet borewell (Bharat Bhushan / HT Photo )

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Tuesday blamed sandy soil and bora (sack) in which the two-year-old child got stuck in 150-feet borewell at Bhagwanpura village in Sangrur for the failed rescue operation. The minor was declared dead at PGI Chandigarh where he was rushed after being taken out.

NDRF deputy inspector general (operations) Randeep Singh Rana, who closely monitored the 110-hour-long rescue operation, said that circumstances were such that both scientific methods and conventional wisdom failed to work.

“There is no factory-designed equipment and rescue efforts require surgical precision. Wire-based equipment attached with balloon or platform is inserted to provide support and pull the child out, but we couldn’t use it because the toddler fell into the borewell with a sack that blocked the passage,” he said.

Rana said the loop method was used to engage a body part but the child was stuck and could not be pulled out as the medical team of Punjab government advised against it. “The only other option was to dig a parallel hole and the district administration had already started work. It was a time-consuming exercise as the soil was sandy and pipes had to be used,” he said, rebutting the charge of use of flawed strategy.

Denying any lack of coordination, the DIG said the deputy commissioner was the incident commander and other agencies (including NDRF) were there to assist him and gave their suggestions. NDRF, which is a rescue response force for disaster, had deployed 42 personnel from its battalion based at Bathinda who worked on rotation.

The force handles 7-8 such incidents annually.

Meanwhile, commandant, 7th NDRF Battalion, Bathinda, Ravi Kumar, said best possible efforts were put in to evacuate the child but they couldn’t succeed because “it was a very complicated situation”.

“All, including 26 NDRF personnel, public and administration worked round the clock with collective wisdom, and I will call it a cruel destiny that we couldn’t save the child,” he said.

“It was the first rescue operation of this kind for our team but we were in touch with other NDRF teams who have carried out such operations. Results vary from situation to situation,” he said.

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 13:40 IST