Sameen Ahmed (25) had a close brush with death. Of the four people who entered the tank at Ghaziabad’s Loni Sewage Plant on Sunday morning, he is the only one who survived. Ahmed sells cattle fodder across the treatment plant, which is where he was when he heard two employees from the plant shouting for help, saying two of their colleagues were trapped inside a tank.
Without any kind of safety equipment, Ahmed climbed down the long, vertical steel ladder leading to the bottom of the tank. “I had no idea that the tank was filled with toxic gases. I thought that the two only required to be rescued from the water,” he said.
When he reached the bottom, he found that both men were unconscious. He tied the rope hanging above to the wrist of one of the men, and the crowd began pulling. That is when the fumes began to affect his system.
“The gases were extremely strong; even two minutes spent inside was too much. My head started spinning and I realised it was dangerous to remain there. I climbed out, but another passerby decided to go down. He was trying to pull up one of the men, when he slipped and fell,” he said.
Ahmed said if he had stayed in for a couple more minutes, he too might have died: “I vomited as soon as I climbed out.”
Meanwhile, the family of Mahesh, who was one of the victims, said they had asked him to quit the job several times. “We told him it was unsafe. There are no supervisors, no safety precautions, but he would say that he and his colleagues helped each other….,” alleged Mahender, his brother-in-law.