Kerala authorities close dam gates to save elephant from swirling flood waters

It managed to climb on a rocky terrain but could not move out as gushing waters engulfed it from all sides.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2018 17:57 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala wildlife,Wild elephant Kerala,Kerala
The stranded elephant was first noticed by locals and they immediately informed the forest department officials.(Picture: Sourced by special arrangement)

A wild elephant swept away in swirling flood waters was saved by a team of wildlife-lovers and forest department officials after more than four hours near the famous Athirapally waterfall in flood-hit Kerala’s Thrissur district on Monday.

The stranded elephant was first noticed by locals and they immediately informed the forest department officials. It managed to climb on a rocky terrain but could not move out as gushing waters engulfed it from all sides.

“The elephant was tired and it seems it was stranded there for more than 24 hours. We found gushing water should be controlled to save it. We immediately approached the officials of Peringalkooth dam and they agreed to shut three sluice gates for two hours,” a senior forest official said and added it took more than four hours to save the jumbo.

“Once the water receded, we burst crackers and led the tusker to the forests,” the official said.

The roaring Athirapally waterfalls is a favourite location for Bollywood filmmakers and films such as Raavan and Bahubali have been shot there.

Another such story of hope and rescue unfolded on Sunday.

A team of National Disaster Response Team (NDRF) personnel took almost six hours to reach a pack of stray dogs marooned in a newly-formed island for two days near Cheruthoni in Idukki district. An NDRF commando crossed more than 1,000 metres on a rope over swollen waters to reach them with food and snacks. He managed to rescue a sick one and fed others.

Another NDRF commando, Kanhiya Kumar from Bihar, has turned a hero for his selfless act. The video of him running through a flooded bridge in Idukki with a sick child close to his chest a couple of days ago has gone viral on social media.

The bridge was submerged by the flood water released from the Cheruthoni dam minutes after Kumar crossed it with the child. Many organisations have said they will felicitate him.

In another village in the same district, a pet dog turned a saviour for the whole family.

As Rocky groaned and yelped continuously through the night, the family’s head Mohanan came out to inquire what was wrong with it. He soon heard a thunderous noise of landslips and rushed out with his family members and in minutes his house was razed to the ground.

The worst-affected Idukki district continued to reel under the impact of unprecedented floods on Monday even as fresh rains were reported from several other parts of the state. The water level in the Idukki hydro-electric dam has receded to 2,397.58ft, alleviating concerns about floods in fresh downstream areas, particularly in Ernakulam district, officials said.

The floods have inundated half the state and left at least 40 people dead as well as a trail of devastation. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has described it as the worst disaster to hit the southern Indian state with a population of 35 million

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 16:37 IST