India: Woman swept away into river clings on to iron bars almost entire night

She was finally rescued after a failed attempt


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Image used for illustrative purpose only
Image used for illustrative purpose only

Published: Mon 15 Aug 2022, 3:28 PM

A motorcycle ride turned into a nightmare for a 35-year-old woman who fell into a swollen Betwa river in Vidisha district of India’s Madhya Pradesh state on Thursday at around 6pm.

Sonam Dangi spent nearly 12-hours braving strong water currents, where she kept clinging on to iron bars of an under-construction bridge.

Dangi was travelling with her brother on a motorcycle to her parents’ house in Padaria in Vidisha district to celebrate Raksha Bandhan on Thursday, when the bike slipped while crossing the Barrighat bridge, officials said. She was finally rescued after a failed attempt.

Speaking about her ordeal, Dangi said that after seeing her falling into the river, her brother also jumped, but failed to rescue her due to strong water current.

She said that after being swept away for around five kilometres from the spot, she got stuck in some iron rods of an under-construction bridge at village Ganj.

“I clung on to the iron bars put up for an under-construction bridge, but started losing my strength through the night. It kept raining heavily coupled with lightning and thunder. But the face of my eight-year-old son gave me the strength while thinking that I have to live for my child,” she said. She saw a ray of hope at around 5am when the rescuers came in a boat to save her.

“But the boat of rescuers overturned while taking me to safety and I again swept away and held a tree log at Rajkheda, some five kilometres from the under-construction bridge. But now I was wearing a life jacket,” she said.

On Friday, additional chief secretary (ACS) home Dr Rajesh Rajora said that while Dangi’s brother was immediately rescued, she was found stuck in an under-construction pillar of a bridge and a rescue team was deployed to save her, but they couldn’t reach Dangi due to strong currents. The team of five divers finally reached the woman in their fifth attempt around 5am. They pulled her in the boat and gave her a lifejacket, he said.

But it overturned because of strong water current. While the divers somehow swam to safety, the woman was again swept away, Rajora said.

However, Dangi found a large log to hold on to and stayed afloat about 16km away from the original spot, he said.

The authorities soon alerted villages downstream. After sometime, at about 6am, local residents in the Rajkheda village spotted Dangi and rescued her with the help of a tyre tube, Rajora said. — pti

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