Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Kerala Trekker Trapped in Mountain Cleft Rescued by Army Team

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Mountaineers from the Indian army have rescued an injured trekker who was stranded without food and water for nearly 48 hours in the cleft of a steep hill in the southern Indian state of Kerala. R Babu, 23, slipped and fell into the crevice on Monday while on a hike with three friends. Three different rescue teams had failed to reach him earlier. On Wednesday morning, the Indian army finally made contact with him.

The army personnel who conducted the rescue operation reached near R Babu and gave him water and food. A member of the rescue team took him to the top of the hill after giving him safety gear.

The 1,000-ft Kurumbachi hill in the Palakkad district of Kerala is known for its steep terrain and the state’s forest department has previously warned trekkers about the risk of hiking up the hill. After his friends failed to pull him up using sticks and ropes, they went down the hill to seek help from the police.

Babu sent photos and selfies of the spot to help them locate him. When Babu fell and got stuck in the cleft on Monday, he had only enough space to sit inside it.

As rescue efforts expanded, drones were used to monitor his location on the side of the hill where he was stuck. On Tuesday, Coast Guard helicopters made several sorties to reach him but failed because of the topography of the terrain and a heavy downdraft.
Rescue teams were also unable to get food and water to him.

Local legislator Shafi Parambil expressed concerns over Mr. Babu’s health.

Till Tuesday noon he had responded to the rescue operators by raising hands. But by evening he has become very weak. A team of the Indian army was mobilized after the state’s chief minister requested their help. The army finally established contact with Mr. Babu on Wednesday morning, saying “We reached, don’t worry.”

He is now being taken to a hospital. On Tuesday night, authorities lit flambeaus to keep wild animals away, an official involved in the operation.

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