A 25-year-old woman and her six-month-old baby miraculously escaped nature’s fury as they were rescued a good nine hours after the tragedy.
The baby and her mother were trapped in their house built of thatched roofs. “They were under the roof… The mother was tightly holding the baby in her arms. We found them while removing the mud with the earth mover. Their entire house was wrapped in thick layer of mud,” said Baban Kokane who was operating the earth mover.
Kokane said the woman and the baby were safely removed. “We removed the two around 4 pm — that is about nine hours after the tragedy. The doctors then administered them the first aid,” he said.
Kokane said the woman was in a state of shock, but said she was “lucky” as her husband had also gone out of the house before tragedy struck. “The woman could not say how old she was, but she looked to be around 25 years. But she said her child was six-months-old.”
Kokane said a former sarpanch of the village, who identified himself as Lemhe, also survived along with this daughter. “He had gone out early morning to drop his daughter at a school which is in a nearby village. He returned and was speechless after finding his village having completely disappeared,” he said, adding that he reached the spot around noon.
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Kokane said there are 12 JCBs trying to remove the debris. “The debris were all mud in which the people were stuck. By 7.15 pm, at least 20 bodies had been recovered. I don’t think anybody has survived. We were told that there were at least 200 villagers present in their houses when the tragedy struck,” he said.
Kokane said the relief measures were affected as “too many” earth movers, ambulances and other vehicles landed on the road leading to the village.
Other rescue workers said they found several bodies together, apparently they belonged to one family. Several dead cattle were also found.
Bus driver first to reach village, alert others
After the landslide in Malin village, the first to reach it from outside was a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) bus driver. He reached the reached village around 8 am Wednesday. The driver, Rajendra Kale, reported the incident to his depot and later the local police and district administration were informed.
The bus from the Narayangaon Depot makes the trip from Manchar town to Ahupe village in Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary. The bus has a stop at Malin village.
According to police, when the bus came to Malin village, Kale could see the approach road to the village was blocked by debris from the landslide. The entire western side of the village could not be seen.
Kale first called the bus depot and told them about the calamity. By 9 am, the local police and district administration was informed. By then some villagers from neighbouring villages reached Malin. NDRF was informed around 10 am and by noon their teams reached the spot.
With PAVAN KHENGRE