New Delhi: What is more precious than life? When 23-year-old R Babu, who was trapped on a hill in Palakkad district for almost 45 hours since Monday evening, was brought down the hill, his immense gratitude towards his saviours was evident. On Wednesday morning, the Kerala trekker was rescued by a joint team of the Indian Army, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), Coast Guard and Air Force.
Once the rescue operation was successfully over and Babu brought down, he celebrated his life and was seen sitting between a group of Army men for a photo where he as a gesture of gratitude hugged and even planted a kiss on the cheeks of some soldiers who were part of his rescue team.
Later in the video, he profusely thanked the joint rescue team of the Indian Army, NDRF, coast Guard and Air Force for putting in marathon efforts and saving his life. “Very thanks to the Indian Army for bringing me down,” he said. The soldiers got their photos clicked with him while chanting ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai.
Babu and two others had on Monday started to climb to the top of the Kurumbachi hills in Palakkad’s Malambuzha. However, the two turned back due to the steep climb even as Babu decided to go ahead. He reached the top but slipped and got trapped between rocks on the mountain face.
A massive rescue operation was launched on Monday to rescue Babu after his friends who were also trekking with him in the hills informed the authorities about him. However, the rescue efforts by the state police, forest officials and civil defence volunteers failed to extricate him from the hillside.
Later, two teams of NDRF and a Coast Guard helicopter were also called in to rescue him but their attempts were also unsuccessful. According to the authorities, the rescue efforts were not successful on Monday and Tuesday as the hill is very steep and the chopper was not able to reach near the stranded youngster.
The Coast Guard was forced to abort the rescue mission after the helicopter pilot found that the aircraft was experiencing “heavy downdraft” due to the “topography of the terrain and various met conditions”.
The Army unit kept in touch with him through Tuesday night, reassuring him that he would be rescued soon. “We have come to rescue you, don’t worry,” the soldiers told Babu who smiled in return. The rescuers also told him not to shout and exhaust himself. Finally, after several hours of rescue effort, Babu was finally pulled up to bring an end to his ordeal.