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Felt like Tom Hanks of Cast Away, says trekker rescued after 3 days

A 67-year-old trekker from Thiruvananthapuram, who lost his way in Vedini Bugyal — a Himalayan Alpine meadow — in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, was rescued on Friday midnight by the SDRF

dehradun Updated: Jun 23, 2018 22:46 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand News
Uttarakhand State Disaster Response Force personnel take a selfie with 67-year-old trekker S Prema Chandran from Thiruvananthapuram after rescuing him from Chamoli district.(HT Photo)

A 67-year-old trekker from Thiruvananthapuram, who lost his way in Vedini Bugyal — a Himalayan Alpine meadow — in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, was rescued on Friday midnight by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).

S Prema Chandran, who had been trekking for the last two decades, was rescued in three days; SDRF personnel continued rescue efforts in the nights.

“On the third day, I felt like I am Tom Hanks of the classic movie Cast Away. Like Hanks was lost in an island, I too was lost and there was no way out. But, unlike him, I was saved by the efforts of SDRF,” Prema Chandran said, thanking the state government for saving his life.

On June 19, Prema Chandran left Van village for Vedini Bugyal; from there, he left for Roopkund on June 20. While returning, he lost his way. Instead of taking south, he went towards the north. After walking over 10km, he realised that he had taken the wrong turn. But it was already night; he started following a stream that led him to a rocky dead end.

“I realised that I could not go any further, as it was a dead end. And I didn’t have the energy to return to the same route again. So I decided to wait,” he said.

Prema Chandran had some supplies which helped him survive. But a torch turned out to be his saviour. “I could see a road and a few villages, but I was stuck. On Friday evening, I saw some vehicles; so I immediately lighted the torch towards them. They in turn lighted a torch and that’s when I knew I was saved,” he said.

SDRF sub-inspector Vijay Rayal said, “We could not find him initially. But we didn’t leave any stone unturned to scan the area. We are glad to have reached him in time.”

For three days and three nights, Prema did meditation; he recalled his wife and children. And he could hear two sounds -- thundering clouds and a stream flowing nearby. “I never wish to experience the same silence again,” he said, though he was determined to return to the hill state with the nsame enthusiasm.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 22:46 IST