DJB drain mishap: Body of 3rd victim found
Rescue teams on Monday recovered the body of 19-year-old Ankit, three days after he and two other colleagues were trapped at a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) sewer line in west Delhi’s Keshopur.
The bodies of the two other workers were recovered earlier.
In the last two days of the operation, the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) team had to use a winch — a mechanical device with a rope and pulley and a bucket-shaped vessel — to send its deep-divers down the drain to trace the missing man.
Ankit’s body was found at around 1 pm on Monday, almost 400 metres from where he was swept away by rushing water on Friday afternoon while carrying out welding works at the site, said the an NDRF official who led the operation.
According to Sanjay Tomar, divisional officer (Delhi Fire Services), Ankit’s body was found about 50 feet from where the body of his 25-year-old colleague Devinder Sharma was recovered on Sunday.
The body of a third worker, Shahrukh Khan, was found on Friday itself. Unlike his colleagues who were swept into the drain line by sewage water, Khan’s hand was stuck in an iron mesh he was fixing.
The colleagues of the three workers, who were allegedly not provided any safety gears, had earlier alleged that the victims drowned after someone opened the gate of a barrage, allowing sewage water to sweep away the victims.
According to Tomar, a host of factors made the recovery operation “extremely difficult” that lasted over 72 hours.
“The drain was a confined, dark and unknown territory. It was filled with muck and poisonous gases and was very difficult to access. We had to drain out the water in the pipeline to conduct the search for the bodies,” said Tomar.
On the second day of the mishap, NDRF officials used robotic cameras to try and locate the bodies, but the muck ended up covering the lens, leaving the attempt futile. The recovery team then began sending its deep divers to manually search for the workers.
The rescuers wore scuba-diving sets -- self-contained breathing operators -- for continuous supply of oxygen in the dark and deep drain, said the official.
“The deep-divers had to be lowered into every manhole for searching the bodies. The drain was a very confined space, making it one of the most difficult search operations we have carried out. We had to use emergency lights for uninterrupted supply to keep our men safe,” said the NDRF official.
The local police have already registered a case of causing death due to negligence and have arrested a supervisor who was allegedly responsible for the workers’ safety.