Dog Looking for Owner Helps Find Child’s Body in Idukki Landslide
Koovi, a dog waiting for days at the site of the landslide, helped rescuers reach Dhanushka’s mortal remains.
After two days of search operations, the body of a 2-year-old girl was unearthed from the Idukki landslides which has claimed almost 70 lives. And it was Koovi, a dog that has been waiting for days at the site of the landslide, that helped rescuers reach Dhanushka’s mortal remains.
Ever since the fatal landslides buried houses of tea plantation workers at the Rajamalai hills on Friday, reporters at the site had found Koovi and two other dogs running around frantically, perhaps to find their owners and their homes in the rubble.
"I was there at the spot while Dhanushka’s body was being retrieved. The dog seemed to be upset. There is a bridge named Cemet bridge. Her body was found near a tree under the bridge. It was lying in the river which flows through Pettimudi. The dog caught the smell and helped the rescue workers find the baby’s body," Idukki MP Dean Kuriakose told TNM.
While Dhanushka's father Pratheesh's body was retrieved earlier, the bodies of her mother and older sibling are missing.
The police and fire and rescue workers had been conducting search operations at the Gravel Bank, four kilometres away from Pettimudi. Local sources stated that Koovi was gazing into the river when she barked and alerted rescue workers, who searched and recovered Dhanushka’s body from the area. Apart from Koovi, two other pet dogs were found searching for their missing owners for days together at the site of the landslide.
Over the last few days, heart-rending scenes have been reported from Idukki as rescuers retrieved one body after another, including that of 11 children below 14 years of age. The bodies of 14 more victims, 6 of them children who were at home due to the pandemic, are yet to be recovered from the debris.
On Thursday, a small piggy bank, believed to be the possession of one of the 17 children buried in the landslides was unearthed.
Amid the twigs, wet mud and discarded rubber slippers found in the Idukki landslide rubble, rescue workers discovered this tiny red savings bank.
In the landslide that happened on 6 August, many houses that tea estate workers lived in, were destroyed. Around 70 people were buried under the rubble and boulders, and after 8 days of search operations, only 55 dead bodies have been recovered. With the weather conditions also working against the teams of NDRF, police, Fire and Rescue and local residents, not a single body could be found on Thursday. On Friday, Dhanushka's body was found.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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