After four-hour high-voltage drama and some acting skills of the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) officials, a man was rescued from atop the Doordarshan TV Tower at Worli in the early hours of Friday.
Vithalwadi resident, Ajay Paswan, who was recently removed from his job, was threatening to jump from the height of 125 metres.
Despite repeated attempts by the police and the fire brigade teams, he refused to come down and insisted on speaking to the media. So, fire brigade officials posed as TV reporters and arranged for dummy cameras to pacify Paswan during the rescue operation.
Mumbai Fire Brigade received a call at 3 am Friday about a person having intruded into Doordarshan Kendra premises and climbed up the 350-metres TV antenna tower.
A fire brigade official from Worli fire station said Paswan himself made the call informing the police through his cellphone.
“He kept demanding that the media be called. He kept threatening that he would jump. We feared he might slip and fall due to heavy wind and rain. We tried to convince him but each time he would threaten to jump. It took us almost half an hour to reach up the antenna’s level four, which is almost 125 metres high from the ground level, but Paswan did not allow us to come anywhere close to him. Hence, we decided to speak to him posing as journalists from news channels,” said Devendra Shivaji Patil — assistant divisional fire official, who was involved in the operation. He said high-velocity wind and rain were huge challenges for them during the rescue operation.
Apart from Patil three other MFB officials — Vijay Devre, assistant station officer, Worli, Prashant Talekar and Sagar Dongardive — took this challenge and tried to reach as close to him posing as TV journalists.
“The platform where he was standing was very small. So, it was getting difficult for more number of officials to stay on top. We learnt that he was working as a driver and was removed from his job. He had a pregnant wife and seemed completely distressed,” said Patil.
Finally, after almost four hours of talks, the fire brigade officials managed to convince him to come down and the rescue operation was called off. Paswan was then handed over to the police.
“He broke down during interrogation. He has a family to look after and no means to earn. He is in our custody,” said an official from the Worli police station.