House collapses in Kerala, fire force's timely action saves 6, including a baby

Unnikrishnan, aged 26 years, was trapped entirely under the rubble and it took the fire force more than an hour to pull him out.
Fire force rescue family in Poojappura
Fire force rescue family in Poojappura
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Six people, including a 22-day-old baby, were rescued by the Thiruvananthapuram fire force after they were trapped when a concrete wall collapsed and fell on top of their house. The incident took place in Mudavanmugal during the heavy rains that have been lashing Kerala. The wall collapsed around midnight on Saturday, October 16, waking up neighbours who rushed to the house and called the police and the fire force. 

A team of Fire and Rescue Services personnel, led by the Thiruvananthapuram station officer T Sajith, rescued all the people in the house. The house was in an elevated area in Mudavanmugal, located in Poojappura. “We got the call at around half past 12 last night. It was a retaining wall about 24 feet high that fell over the house. The house was made of metal sheets and the six people inside it were living on rent. The oldest among them – 80-year-old Leela – could not move, trapped a little among all the rubble. We rescued her and sent her in our ambulance to a hospital immediately,” Sajith says.

Twenty-six-year-old Unnikrishnan was deep under the rubble that had fallen over him. “We could only see a small part of his head. At first, we provided support by means of a tree while we began removing the concrete that fell over him. Once his face emerged, he began talking to us. It took us about one and a half hours to pull him out. He has injuries. He has been taken to the hospital,” Sajith adds.

While Leela and Unnikrishnan suffered injuries, four others in the house – Binu (35), Sandhya (23) and Sandhya’s two children – a four-year-old and a 22-day-old – were unhurt. 

Half the house was destroyed in the wall collapse. Mathrubhumi spoke to a neighbour, Sundareshan Pillai, who said that he heard the sound of the wall collapse at midnight and ran with others to the house. They had initially found Leela trapped amid the rubble, unable to move. It was from Leela’s cries that they realised Unnikrishnan was stuck under the concrete.

Sandhya and her two kids rescued by the fire force

In Kottayam’s Koottickal, another six-member family was not so fortunate, all of them were washed away after a landslide early on Saturday morning. Kerala has been facing heavy rains over the past two days, leaving six people dead and several others missing after parts of Idukki and Kottayam were struck by landslides. Koottickal in Kottayam has been isolated since the morning as rescue teams are unable to reach the area by road. 

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