A coconut-tree climber by profession, 45-year old Kumar from Mattancherry in Ernakulam used to regularly help out Mukesh Jain -a local business man- who is on a mission to rescue birds entangled in snapped kite-twine, branches, electric lines or mobile towers.
But on Wednesday, Kumar met a tragic end while trying to rescue an injured eagle at Mattancherry. The bird had got its wings entangled in the branches of a tree near a pond. In its hurry to free itself, the eagle ended up hurting its wings.
When it later tried to fly, it could hardly do so, and ended up falling into the nearby pond. Someone alerted Mukesh, who in turn got in touch with Kumar, who lost no time in rushing to the site.
A good swimmer, Kumar did not think twice before jumping into the pond, but undercurrents and thick slush sucked him down, before he could even attempt to save the bird.
By the time the Fire Force arrived on the scene, all they could do was pull out his lifeless body from the pond. They did however manage to rescue the injured eagle, which had miraculously stayed alive all this while.
Coming from an impoverished background, Kumar did charge for his services, but was â€śdedicatedâ€ť to the noble cause, says a shaken Mukesh, while speaking to The News Minute.
â€śHe was my constant help for the past four years. He used to undertake each rescue mission with dedication. It is indeed a very unfortunate accident,â€ť shares Mukesh.
Kumar had rescued close to a hundred such trapped birds from such traps, and would be the first to respond to any such distress call by Mukesh.
"He was a good swimmer. But apparently, there was a lot of slush in the middle of the pond, and he lost balance. In a hurry to rescue the bird, he might not have thought about his own safety."
Mukesh has himself been a vocal campaigner against the use of plastic string to fly kites, as it poses a grave danger to both birds and humans.
â€śThe main reason for a large number of similar unfortunate incidents is the use of plastic twines,â€ť he opines.