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Drones, mountaineers, rock climbers: How Army rescued amateur trekker trapped on Kerala hill

New Delhi:  A specialist team — with qualified mountaineers and rock climbing experts  — from the Army’s Parachute Regiment and the Madras Regimental Centre Wednesday morning rescued R. Babu, a 23-year-old amateur trekker who had slipped into a deep cleft on a hill face in the Malampuzha Reserve Forest area in Kerala’s Palakkad district Monday.

Babu had been trapped for two days without food or water, in a plight reminiscent of the 2010 biographical survival drama film 127 Hours, based on a real-life incident in which a man was trapped by a boulder in an isolated canyon.

According to local residents, the 23-year-old was part of a group of four trekkers who had decided to climb to the top of Cherad hill there Monday. However, while the others abandoned the effort halfway, Babu climbed on. But after reaching the top, he slipped and fell, and was trapped between rocks on the hill face, local people said.

Initial rescue efforts by local residents, police, and fire and rescue services failed due to the challenges of terrain.

Then, based on a requisition sent by the Kerala government and the District Disaster Management Committee, the Army’s Southern Command swung into action.

Rescue operation

An Army specialist team with qualified mountaineers and rock climbing experts from the Parachute Regimental Training Centre (PRTC), Bengaluru, was airlifted to Sulur in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district, which borders Palakkad, Army sources said.

They added that a team from the Madras Regimental Centre (MRC), Wellington, started on the road, and both teams reached the incident site by early Wednesday morning.

After a thorough reconnaissance, including use of drones for surveillance of the location, the two teams began rescue operations at 5.45 am, the sources said.

They were able to locate Babu about 30 metres from the cliff top, and established verbal communication with him, confirming that he was safe despite long hours having passed since his fall.

The team then climbed down the cliff using ropes and pulled him up, completing the rescue at around 10 am.

Indian Air Force helicopters at Sulur were on standby, to supplement the rescue operations if needed.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Army rescues civilians stuck in avalanche in J-K’s Kupwara

Source: The Print

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