Army team reaches trapped Kerala trekker R Babu, likely to be airlifted | 10 points

Updated on Feb 09, 2022 09:47 AM IST
Twenty-three-year-old R Babu, along with three of his friends, trekked the hill in Malampuzha in Kerala's Palakkad district on Monday and was involved in the accident later that evening. He is trapped there since then and the state government has sought the help of Indian Army to rescue him.
Kerala trekker R Babu is sitting in a small recess on the mountain face.(ANI Photo)
Kerala trekker R Babu is sitting in a small recess on the mountain face.(ANI Photo)
By | Reported by Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram

A rescue team of the Indian Army on Tuesday morning reached Kerala trekker R Babu, who is trapped in a hill cleft in Malampuzha village in state's Palakkad district since Monday. Army officers said they crawled four hours to reach the 23-year-old. 

He was given some water and is now likely to be taken to the hilltop since the descent is cumbersome. The rescue operation, one of the biggest in recent times, also involves personnel of the Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

The rescue operation, which was halted on Tuesday, was launched again on Wednesday morning.

The trekker's friends said he fell into an opening on the hill when he experienced exhaustion while trying to descend the rocks.

Here are the latest on this massive rescue effort:

• Army officials said it will take at least two hours to reach top of the Kurumpachi Mala hill. Palakkad district collector Mrunmai Joshi said that a medical team has been kept ready.

• Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the health condition of the 23-year-old is satisfactory and he will be rescued at any time. Babu's mother and brother are camping near base camp.

• Rescuers said they came across three bears while trekking to the cleft to bring down Babu to safety.

• The mountaineering team of the Indian Army is a part of the rescue operation. The teams made contact with Babu more than 40 hours after the rescue operation was launched.

• Babu suffered an injury when he fell into an opening of the hill which descending. He later sent selfies and photographs of the location where he was trapped on Cherad hill, a police officer said.

• His friends, who were able to descend the hill safely after abandoning the trek halfway following the accident, said that he initially responded to their calls, but they weren’t able to locate him in the crevice of the mountain.

• On Tuesday, navy choppers arrived at the spot and made several sorties but failed to evacuate him because of the treacherous terrain.

• A Coast Guard helicopter pilot also tried to hover it near the ridge where Babu is stranded, but due to "topography of terrain the helicopter experienced heavy downdraft", said the force, adding that the mission was aborted.

• Attempts to send food and water have also failed to materialise, and authorities are trying to keep away wild animals by lighting flambeaus.

• Visuals on local television channels show that Babu is sitting in a small recess on the mountain face.

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