Man latches himself onto a tree for 8 hours, drowns during rescue operation

Siddipet: In a tragic incident, the man who latched himself onto a tree for 12 hours got washed away in the floodwater and died after efforts to rescue him went in vain.

Mudigonda Shankar, 35, a resident of Kashireddy village in Adilabad district was a lorry driver. On Saturday, he was heading towards Siddipet from Husnabad. When the vehicle reached Baswapur Bridge at around 4am, the bridge was by then inundated. In an attempt to cross the bridge, the lorry got washed away. Trying to save himself, the driver jumped out of the sinking truck and latched onto a tree. The cleaner of the vehicle, Dharmaiah, escaped unhurt.

Local residents on learning about the incident from Dharmaiah immediately contacted the local officials. Finance Minister T Harish Rao was also informed about the incident, who directed the District Collector and Police Commissioner to immediately carry out a rescue operation to save Shankar. Acting upon the instruction, Commissioner of Police (CP) Joel Davis, along with his team, reached the spot.

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Special rescue teams from Hyderabad and Warangal were also called.  Police, locals the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams tried a lot to save the man but all their efforts went in vain as he was washed away by a flow of stream when he was trying to hold the rope thrown by a rescue team at 11.35 am on Saturday. Before that he tried to stay afloat for about eight hours.

The rescue team sent a rope and safety jacket to the driver with the help of a balloon. He was asked to hold the rope after wearing the jacket. The rescue team tried to pull him out of the stream from 200 metres away. But as he was too tired, Shankar could not hold the rope for a long time. The team pulled him for 50 metres but after that Shankar lost grip of the rope and was swept away with the stream.

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The chopper which was called in to rescue him helicopter reached the spot half an hour after the driver was swept away. The onlookers observed that the officials had taken a hasty decision to rescue Shankar with the rope.

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