Kerala: Body of man trapped in well retrieved after 50 hoursKerala: Body of man trapped in well retrieved after 50 hours
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Rescue personnels on Monday retrieved the body of a 50-year-old man from a well he was trapped in since July 8 in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram

KOCHI: After nearly 50 hours of joint efforts by locals, NDRF and Kerala Fire and Rescue personnel, the body of Maharajan (55) was retrieved from a 90-feet deep well that had collapsed on Saturday morning in Vizhinjam area of Thiruvananthapuram district.

Maharajan, belonging to Parvathipuram in Tamil Nadu and settled in Kerala for over two decades, had descended into the well on the morning of July 8 to reinforce the iron rings in the well when it collapsed, pushing him further down under a massive heap of mud and slush.

Though rescue efforts began immediately and were aimed at bringing Maharajan back alive, a senior rescue officer said they realised soon what a daunting challenge it is.

“It’s a 90 feet deep well and many of the iron rings had broken, filling it with massive amounts of mud and water. The more we excavated mud and brought it outside, the more mud and water filled in the well. We realised that Maharajan had fallen quite deep and it would be difficult to survive,” Sooraj S, Thiruvananthapuram district fire officer, told HT.

Sending personnel into the well was highly risky as there was a danger of a bigger and secondary collapse, said the officer. So, they brought in men who were experts at well construction and repair from neighbouring Kollam district. Together, with the help of locals, they reinforced the iron rings at the top to prevent the well from collapsing from above. The work was so labouring that personnel would get exhausted in half a day’s work and had to be replaced by others, said Sooraj.

“We knew from the outset that this was a huge challenge, considering how deep and confined the space inside the well was. The soil was also extremely loose so the chances of collapse was high. So we didn’t make hurried decisions. It was slow but systematic. The locals there were very helpful. We couldn’t have done it without them,” said Sooraj.

It was disappointing, he admitted, to not be able to bring Maharajan back alive. “But we couldn’t leave his body behind. It was unthinkable. After nearly 50 hours of efforts, we were able to bring his body around 10:30 am on Monday,” the officer said.

In various shifts, close to 75 personnel from different stations of the Fire and Rescue Services were engaged in the operation.

Maharajan is survived by his wife P Selvi and daughters MS Babitha and MS Sabitha.

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