Uttarakhand rafting expert heads to flooded Kerala on rescue mission
Kayaking and rafting expert Uttarakhand’s Praveen Rangar is leading a team to rain-battered Kerala where at least 174 people have been killed in the current spell of heavy rains, to use his expertise to rescue affected people and search for missing ones.
With 17 rafts, two kayaks and a hand-picked team of 26 expert rafters, Rangar left on Friday morning for Kerala.
A notification from the Adventure Tours Operators Association of India (ATOAI), recognised by tourism ministry, issued on August 16 announced that Rangar, 34, will be leading a delegation of rafters from Rishikesh for rescue operations in Kerala.
“He will take final decisions on rescue and coordinate the same based on the same onsite,” added the letter issued by Captain Swadesh Kumar, president, ATOAI.
Rangar, a national kayaking coach and a guest instructor at various mountaineering institutes, had in 2010, led a team to Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir for rescue and relief when 26 army personnel were swept away. In 2013 Kedarnath tragedy, he assisted the disaster management personnel to rescue victims.
“The situation in Kerala is traumatic and they would need rafts and kayaks to rescue people,” Rangar said.
His team will work in coordination with the 28 navy teams currently deployed for relief. Besides, there are 16 army teams, 39 national disaster response force (NDRF) and other teams in ground.
Heavy rainfall led to massive floods in Kerala leaving thousands homeless and disrupting all transport services including rail, road and air. Nearly 2 lakh people have been shifted to over 1,500 camps so far.