OTV Journalist Dies, Covering Rescue Operation in Odisha's Mahanadi River

The boat used by the rescue team had capsized and all of them had been swept away.

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Arindam Das, a special correspondent with TV channel Odisha TV (OTV), lost his life while covering the rescue operation of an elephant, stranded in the Mahanadi river, near Mundali bridge, in Odisha's Cuttack.

Das and his colleague, cameraperson Prabhat Sinha, had joined the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) team, to cover the rescue operation.

Das and Sinha, along with five personnel of the ODRAF team, were on a boat that capsized due to strong current in the river, near the pillars of Mundali barrage, during the rescue operation. All of them were swept away after the boat capsized.


Rescue Operation Turns Fatal

An elephant, which was one among a herd that was trying to cross the Mahanadi, got swayed away by heavy currents in the water, near the Mundali bridge.

Das and Sinha had joined the ORAF team to rescue the stranded elephant. But as they approached the elephant, their boat got sucked into the whirlpool.

"When the boat capsized, we tried to restore its position several times, but the current in the river was very strong. And the boat's motor stopped working. We tried to come out of the whirlpool but we got sucked into it."
ODRAF personnel who was part of the rescue team

Das, Sinha, and the ORAF personnel were rescued from the water, in critical condition, and rushed to the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.

"Arindam was received dead. We tried to revive him for over an hour. Sinha is in the ICU. Condition of one of the ODRAF personnel is critical."
Bhubananda Moharana, SCB superintendent

'A Big Loss'

Das was a popular ground-zero reporter. He is survived by his mother, wife and son. OTV has announced a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to his bereaved family.

Jagi Panda, Managing Director of OTV, said, "Losing Arindam is a colossal loss not only for me but for our entire organisation. There will never be another Arindam."

"In the last 23 years of OTV's journey, I have not seen a more fearless journalist than Arindam, anywhere in the entire Odisha. His demise is not only a loss to OTV but the whole state. I salute the mother who gave birth to such a brave reporter."
Jagi Panda, Managing Director of OTV

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