M A I N   N E W S

Prince rescued, safe
Child was trapped in deep borewell for 48 hours
Rahul Das & Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Shahabad (Kurukshetra), July 23
The safe rescue of five-year-old Prince late this evening proved to be the perfect birthday gift for the child who had fallen into a deep borewell at Hardaheri village in Kurukshetra district.

The agony of the last 48 hours for Prince, who was stuck in a barely two-and-a-half feet space nearly 60 feet below the ground, came to an end at about 7.50 this evening when he was winched out to safety.

Tears welled up in his mother’s eyes when she saw that her child was safe and sound. There was jubilation as soon as Prince came out safely.

The Army coordinated rescue operation was a thumping success. Rescuers had worked round-the-clock to bring out Prince who had been stuck in a deep borewell for more than 48 hours. After rescuers had managed to establish contact with the child through a tunnel dug from an adjoining well, it took about an hour more before the child could be brought out safely.

The moment the child was brought out through the well, there was jubilation among the rescuers, officials and local residents. Announcements were made from an adjoining gurdwara about the positive development. Prince was taken to the adjoining gurdwara to offer obeisance.

Prince, son of a farm hand, had fallen into a deep borewell at about 6.30 pm on July 21. Since then efforts were being made to ensure that he is brought out safely. But the rescue operation has proven to be a herculean task. Army personnel from Ambala cantonment have been at the job since yesterday afternoon.

The pain as well as hope in the eyes of the parents of Prince was evident throughout the rescue operation. Mr Ram Chander said that he was overjoyed and he was eager to clasp his son in his arms. “I just want to hold Prince close to my heart. I am grateful for the effort which was put in by everybody to rescue my son,” he said.

Mr Fakiria, an uncle of Prince, said the whole family had prayed hard for the early recovery of Prince. “We understood that it is a difficult situation. We are thankful to God that everything worked out fine,” he said.

Mr R.K. Sinha, OSD, National Disaster Management Authority, said that a special team of Bombay Fire Service personnel was being flown in from Mumbai to assist in the rescue operation. He said that the team had specialised equipment which would facilitate the rescue work.

In an initial attempt, an effort was made to dig up a hole. However, the plan was dropped as it was not feasible. Thereafter, an adjoining abandoned well was used to rescue Prince.

Since the well had been abandoned, the well had to be cleaned. The well was barely 42-foot deep, so further digging had to be carried out. This enabled the depth of the well to be brought at par with the depth of the deep borewell.

After the required depth had been reached, the rescuers began to dig from the well towards the deep borewell where Prince was stuck. But this was easier said than done. Apparently, the soft earth in the depth of 60 feet was proving to be a major problem. As soon as the rescuers advanced towards the deep borewell, the earth would cave in.

To tide over the problem, a drum was shaped so that the falling earth would not trap the rescuers and the child could be brought out safely. This caused a problem of alignment. Eventually, one of the rescuers had to enter the well with a stethoscope and a rod with which correct direction could be maintained.

A heavy crane of the Army was continuously on the rescue effort. As a matter of fact, the local villagers said that it was due to the effort put in by the Army that Prince could be brought out safely.

It was clear that the Army officers were working steadily and carefully. Caution was needed since even a minor mistake could prove dangerous for Prince who was nearly 60 feet below the earth. After a long and carefully planned rescued operation, Prince was out safely.


Relief, ecstasy all around
Rahul Das & Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Shahabad, (Kurukshetra), July 23
Joy knew no bounds when five-year-old Prince was brought out safely from a deep borewell in Hardaheri village in Kurukshetra this evening.

Rescuers were jubilant when Prince was brought out. The relatives of Prince and villagers were ecstatic and they thanked God for the safe return of Prince. “Our prayers had been answered,” said a woman, her voice choked with emotion.

It had been a hectic day today at Hardaheri village. A number of persons, including Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda camped at the village to take stock of the situation. Mr Hooda held regular consultations with administration officials as well as Army officers present at the spot.

After Prince was rescued, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced a sum of Rs 2 lakh for the family of Prince and Rs 51,000 to the rescue team for safely bringing out Prince. Mr Hooda left the village only after Prince had been rescued.

At one point of time, Mr Hooda himself clambered onto a mud hillock and began giving directions to people to move back. A posse of policemen had a difficult time in keeping curious onlookers at bay.

Among others, Kurukshetra MP Naveen Jindal, Haryana Education Minister Phool Chand Mullana, HPCC working president Dr Ram Prakash, Mr Digvijay Singh, Mr H.S. Chatha, Mr K.L. Sharma, Mr T.K. Sharma and Mr Ashok Arora were present.

Incessant rain failed to dampen the spirits of the rescuers. They continued on the job despite a continuous downpour. To ensure that water does not enter the deep borewell, tarpaulin cover had been used.

The use of close-circuit television proved to be a boon in rescue effort. The rescuers could closely monitor the condition of the child through the CCTV. The voice of Prince could be heard. A mobile phone was switched on and was lowered into the deep borewell. Mr Ram Chander, father of Prince, constantly assured Prince through the mobile phone. Prince would respond by calling out to his father.

Also, a toy was thrown for him. He was offered water, glucose, chocolate, biscuits, chapati and tea at different points of time by the rescuers. The child could be seen eating in the cocooned space.

A team of doctors led by a pediatrician sat near the spot. They were present to ensure a thorough medical examination as soon as Prince was brought out.


CM gives relief

As Prince was rescued, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda informed the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who were in constant touch with him.

Mr Hooda wished a happy birthday to Prince, and shared a cake with him. He also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh to the family of Prince and Rs 51,000 each to all those who went in the tunnel to rescue the child of an agriculture labourer.

The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai also expressed relief and happiness on the success of the operation.




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