In a rescue operation that lasted for over two hours, four persons were rescued by Pune Cantonment Board’s Fire Brigade personnel and local volunteers on Wednesday night at a small bridge over the Bhairoba nullah near the Ganga Satellite society in Wanowrie.
Due to incessant and heavy spell of rain in the last few days, the water level in the nullah rose to over four feet above the bridge, according to Vikas Karde, supervisor at PCB’s fire brigade department.
Karde, along with Dinesh Shinde, Kundlik Gaikwad and Imran Tamboli, rescued the four persons who were stuck in the vehicles submerged in the floodwater.
PCB Fire Brigade Superintendent Prakash Hasbe said they were able to rescue four persons – Nitin Pawar, his wife Shakuntala and their two-and-a-half year old daughter Sheetal, as well as a man named Mulik Singh. Pawar was on his way to Ratnagiri with his family when the tempo he was in got stranded.
Karde said a rope was tied to the tempo to help the three come out. “We first got the small child out, and then the others,” he added.
Mahesh Punde, BJP corporator from Wanowrie, said that even local residents, like cab driver Balu Takle, waded in chest-deep water and helped rescue Mulik Singh, who had climbed out of his car and onto a wall.
Pawar said it was sheer luck and the large support of volunteers that helped save them.
Army representatives also received an SOS call at 12.20 am to rescue people at the Chimta Basti on Solapur Road. Water from the Bhairoba nullah had overflowed and a large number of residents were stranded in the area due to the inundation. People were stranded on two bridges connecting Empress Garden to B T Kawade Road that were under water.
According to an official statement issued later, the local administration was notified, but no formal requisition was received. On humanitarian grounds, four relief teams from local units and one task force from the Bombay Engineering Group and Centre, comprising 157 army personnel, were put together. At least 300 people were rescued in the relief operation, which was called off at 4 am on Thursday.
PCB CEO Amit Kumar said that they would undertake an assessment of the bridge to check if it was damaged. The bridge has been temporarily closed for traffic. “The engineering department will assess the damages and decide whether it requires repairs,” he said.