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Noida: Two drown in pit while retrieving cricket ball

Two men allegedly drowned, and their friend was injured after they entered a sump well, a pit to trap rainwater, to fetch a cricket ball in Sector 6 on Sunday morning
By Tanmayee Tyagi, Noida
PUBLISHED ON JUL 25, 2021 11:47 PM IST

Two men allegedly drowned, and their friend was injured after they entered a sump well, a pit to trap rainwater, to fetch a cricket ball in Sector 6 on Sunday morning. An e-rickshaw driver who tried to help the three men also fell into the 20-foot deep pit after losing consciousness due to “toxic fumes” coming from the sump well.

The sump well is part of a sewage treatment plant (STP) of the Noida authority. The incident took place around 6.30am. Authorities did not immediately clear if the sump well had rainwater or sewage.

While police said they suspect that the victims drowned in the sump well, Noida authority officials said they will launch a probe into the matter as the sump well is supposed to collect rainwater.

An operator at the plant said that he warned the youngsters who had gone there to play cricket against entering the pit, but they did not pay heed to him. He also said that the sump well, which is surrounded by a grille, had about six feet water at the time of the incident.

“Some men often gather at the nearby ground to play cricket in the morning. Around 6.30am today, their ball fell into the sump well. Three of them came here to retrieve the ball. I asked them not to go near the pit but one of them didn’t listen. He lost consciousness after looking for the ball standing on the edge and fell inside. The two others who rushed to help him also fell inside. I then started shouting for help,” said Balram Singh, the operator.

According to police, an e-rickshaw driver who was passing through the area rushed in to help the operator, but he also fell into the pit after losing consciousness. Soon, locals gathered at the spot and one of them informed police about the incident, police officials said.

“After getting information, we called the fire services department and sent a police team to the spot. Our personnel, along with the fire department’s team, wearing oxygen mask and other necessary equipment, pulled the four men out of the sump well,” said Munish Chauhan, station house officer, Sector 20 police station.

The operation lasted for over 30 minutes, Chauhan said.

The four victims were rushed to the district hospital in Sector 30 where two of them were declared brought dead, police said. The deceased were identified as Sandeep, 22, and Vishal Kumar Srivastava, 27, residents of Harola village. They worked at a local factory, police said.

The injured, Rakesh and Mohammad Ansari, were referred to a health centre in Delhi where they are undergoing treatment, the officials said, adding that they are now out of danger.

The police said that the bodies were sent for an autopsy and the reports are awaited. So far, no complaint has been filed in the case, they said.

Meanwhile, the Noida authority said the victims did not pay heed to warnings of the operator who was present at the sump well. “Our operator tried to stop the men from entering the pit, but they refused to do so. Then he called the police and tried to save the victims,” said Ritu Maheshwari, chief executive officer (CEO), Noida authority.

When asked about the “toxic fumes” coming out of the sump well and the fact that the victims reportedly fell unconscious, Maheshwari said, “We will look into the matter, and conduct a probe if required. Action will be taken accordingly.”

Locals at the spot said that the victims entered the premises of the sewage plant after crossing over its boundary wall.

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