An Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) boat carrying personnel and media persons capsized near Mundali Bridge in Cuttack district on Friday during a rescue mission to save a stranded tusk in the floodwaters. Leading journalist of a regional channel, Arindam Das, died as the boat swept away, and the cameraman who was onboard is in a serious condition, informed spokesperson of SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack.
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP national Vice President, Baijayant Jay Panda expressed condolences on the tragic demise of the OTV journalist.
“I am personally saddened to hear of the untimely demise of an unfortunate incident by OTV’s young journalist and my friend Arindam Das. Arindam has been seen several times on social and political occasions,” Pradhan wrote on Twitter.
Swept away by strong currents in the Mahanadi, the elephant was found stuck near Mundali bridge in Odisha’s Cuttack on Friday Morning. According to sources, the tusker was swept away by heavy currents while crossing the Mahanadi near Mundali.
A 10-member expert team along with Chandaka DFO reached Mundali for ‘Operation Gaja’ to rescue the tusker stuck in Mahanadi waters.
Locals spotted the elephant on hearing its trumpeting sound and immediately informed the fire brigade personnel. “All except the tusker were able to cross the river. The level of water is very high near the spot. We are trying our best to rescue the pachyderm,” said Athagarh Ranger Ayesha Nisha.
Meanwhile, senior forest officials from Chandaka are heading to Mundali to join ‘Operation Gaja’ for rescuing the tusker. “Crane will be used to pull the mammal out of the water to safety, sources said. Around eight elephants are still in the forested areas near Banki,” the sources added.
The elephant is one among seven others of a herd that were swept away by heavy currents while crossing the Mahanadi river near Mundali today morning. It got stuck near Mundali bridge while the remaining six elephants safely reached Nuasasan in the Athagarh block of Cuttack district. Till now three persons had been rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital.