Bringing up the dead from 700-ft Ambenali valley: Pune salutes the trekkers who made the impossible possible
About 50 trekkers from the Mahabaleshwar Trekkers group, who helped recover bodies of passengers killed in the Ambenali bus accident on July 28, spoke of the challenges they faced in this mission at a public event organised by Empress Garden Mitra Parivar on Saturday at Empress Garden.
Anil Kelgane, president of the trekkers group, said the group members suffered crab bites and got injured by falling rocks as they entered the 700 feet deep valley during the second stage of the rescue operation.
Thirty-three of the 34 people in a bus were killed after it fell into a 700-foot deep gorge near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on July 28. The bus had rolled down a hill road in Ambenali ghat, near Poladpur town, after the driver lost control while taking a turn.
With a deep sense of gratitude, the Empress Garden Mitra Parivar felicitated around 50 members of this group and also donated Rs 1 lakh to the trekkers’ association.
Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Pingale, secretary of Empress Garden Mitra Parivar, spoke about the importance of such a trekkers’ group during the rescue operation. He also appreciated the adventurous work undertaken by them.
Kelgane shared his experiences of rescue missions in the Sahyadri range. He said that on the occasion of Dussehra, they will start training of young women trekkers.
The group members spoke of the challenges they had faced during the rescue mission. In all, this group has recovered 103 dead bodies and saved the lives of 22 people in the last six years.
The Mahabaleshwar Trekkers group was established in 2012 while group members have been individually participating in such missions since 2002. Most of the members do not have regular jobs and are self-employed as peanut sellers in Mahabaleshwar, tourist guides or running pan shops. They rush to rescue calls when reached out to, said Bapu Wagdare, a group member.
Kelgane spoke of the various precautions they take during rescue missions. He also said that they do not accept any cash rewards from anyone and the funds received are used for financing rescue operation.