In an attempt to rescue a child he thought was in trouble, a ragpicker drowned at the flooded Gaushala underpass in Ghaziabad on Friday afternoon, police said. Police said the victim, who is yet to be identified, misjudged the situation as the boy was merely swimming in the flooded underpass.
While the boy managed to come out of the other end, the ragpicker died and was found by police rescue teams an hour later. “He thought the child was drowning and jumped in to save him but could not make his way out. We are awaiting the postmortem report. He was around 19-20 years old. As he was a ragpicker with no permanent address, identification has been delayed,” said Abhishek Varma, City SP, Ghaziabad.
Water from the surrounding areas fills up the underpass during the monsoon season every year, said locals. Many said children often swim there when it floods. Vipin Agarwal (48), who owns a paint shop nearby, said, “The underpass got flooded in half an hour. This has been happening for many years now.”
Md Gufam (30), who witnessed the drowning, said, “It seemed the victim didn’t know how to swim. Around three years ago, a school bus with 24 children was stuck in the underpass but fortunately they were rescued.”
While locals claimed the flooding is a result of clogged drains, Nagar Nigam officials denied this. Additional Municipal Commissioner Pramod Kumar said, “We have cleaned the drain. The area is naturally low-lying and water stagnates there. But it clears in a few hours. We are planning to install a pump in the next few days.” The underpass was shut to the public for a few hours after the incident traffic resumed once the water levels went down.
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