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Ludhiana tragedy: Rescuers in shock as fire officer’s head found severed

At around 4pm, just after chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh left the spot, the machine hired by the municipal corporation (MC) dug up the head of the officer, identified as Rajinder Sharma.

punjab Updated: Nov 22, 2017 12:19 IST
Aneesha Sareen Kumar
Aneesha Sareen Kumar
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Ludhiana tragedy,Rescuers in shock,fire officer’s head found
People gathered outside the mortuary of the civil hospital in Ludhiana on Tuesday. (Gurminder Singh/HT)

Working relentlessly for over 36 hours to remove victims’ bodies from the rubble of a plastic factory here that collapsed after a fire on Tuesday, officials of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were visibly shaken when they recovered the head of a sub-fire officer from the site.

At around 4pm, just after chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh left the spot, the machine hired by the municipal corporation (MC) dug up the head of the officer, identified as Rajinder Sharma.

The rescue team officials immediately covered the head and sent the same to a hospital in an ambulance. A search for the remaining body parts then began at the site. Soon it was realised that the officer’s body had been mutilated because it came between a beam and the floor as the building collapsed.

The remains of the body were found to be burnt into ashes. An NDRF official working at the site said recovering such mangled remains of the body from such sites is not anything unusual. “But this tragedy is turning out to be the worst in terms of disaster,” he said.

As many as 80 NDRF officials are deputed at the site, along with 26 State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel and 50 jawans of the army.

Removing the debris was a daunting task for them as the officials had to take utmost care that they do not cause any injury to those trapped inside while using the JCB machines.

“We cannot speed up the process of debris removal as there are bodies inside. The gases are very suffocating which are causing problem for us while removing the debris,” added another official at the site, requesting anonymity. While the MC had 13 JCB machines, only three can be put to use at the debris site at one point of time due to space constraints.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 12:18 IST