A toddler fell off a moving jeep in Idukki, Kerala on Sunday night and escaped by trying to crawl to a ticket counter several metres away. Parents of the baby – a one-year-old girl – who were in the jeep had fallen asleep during their trip from Palani, Tamil Nadu, and did not realise the mishap until they were another 45 kilometres away. Luckily, the forest department had been alert and saved the baby, taking her to a hospital for first aid, before the worried parents came back for the child.
An employee at the checkpost saw something crawling, and went nearby to check. This was when the employee that realised it was a baby and immediately alerted higher officials in the Forest Department including the Munnar Wildlife Warden.
CCTV footage from the Rajamala checkpost inside a reserve forest in Idukki district, where the incident happened, shows the baby crawling over to a metal railing. The video shows the baby crawling, then pausing to take rest, before resuming her crawl. She tries to climb over the railing, but is unable to maneuver over it. She then crawls around the railing – perhaps towards the light in the checkpost. It takes her nearly 20 minutes to reach the middle of the road.
“It was around 10 pm when the baby crawled over to the ticket counter at Rajamala checkpost in Munnar,” says R Lekshmi, Munnar Wildlife Warden. “When I went over, there were minor injuries on her head and forehead and blood on her nose. We called the police and the baby was taken to the general hospital for first aid,” she adds. “She also had a chain and bangles on her. The baby must have crawled to the ticket counter, seeing the light,” Lekshmi adds.
Full video link below.
The officials first thought the baby was abandoned but on watching the CCTV footage, saw that she fell from the jeep. It is believed that at 9.42 pm, the baby fell off from her sleeping mother’s lap as the jeep made a turn.
The police officials immediately alerted all police stations in the region. Meanwhile her father Sathish and the rest of the family reached their house in Kambilikandam and realised that the baby was missing.
“They were two families travelling together, returning from a trip to Palani, where the baby’s hair was offered. They were nearing one of the homes in Kambilikandam when they realised the baby was missing,” says the Munnar police.
The worried parents started crying on the road, which is when a police patrolling vehicle was passing by. When the police enquired, they were informed about the missing baby. By then, the Kambilikandam police station had got a message about the child recovered in Rajamala. "The parents went to the Vellathooval police station, whose officials contacted the Munnar station. Once the parents came for the baby by 1 am, we confirmed they were her parents and returned the child,” says the Munnar police.
(With inputs from Cris)