What are the odds of getting stranded on an island with no way out because water around it suddenly filled up?
That’s exactly what happened to Somanna, Shekharappa and Gadeppa, residents of Narayanapura in Surpur taluk, who had taken around 80 sheep for grazing to the Melinagaddi island.
The trio took their sheep to the island as the water around the island had dried up. However, as luck would have it, the Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigama Limited (KBJNL) began releasing water from the Narayanapur Dam to maintain a stable water level in the reservoir.
According to Tahsildar Suresh Ankalagi, the area surrounding the island had dried up as there was severe drought, and when water from the dam was released, it flowed around the island.
“Due to heavy rain, the dam was almost full. With more rain expected in the days ahead, we released 65,000 cusecs of water from the dam. We had issued a flood warning earlier,” an official with the KBJNL told TNM.
With water flowing rapidly, the three shepherds got stuck on the island as they did not know how to swim.
“I did not know that the water was being released. Everyone is saying that the DC had informed the people but I had not heard of the news. The three of us usually go to the island as it is the only place where the sheep can graze. There are barely any green spaces. Most of them had dried up as there was no rain in the past months. So, we came here,” Gaddeppa said.
The trio had also packed lunch so they could come back home in the evening.
“That’s usual for us. To pack lunch. The sheep graze till the evening and we come back before it gets dark. There was barely any water when we crossed over to the island. We were just sitting under the tree and suddenly the water started flowing into the barren space. We were just hoping someone would notice and inform our relatives,” he added.
Gaddeppa’s father, Hanumantha, grew anxious as his son did not return home. He did not venture out of the house on Monday night as there was already a flood warning. On Tuesday morning, Gaddeppa set out to look for his son along with Shanthappa, Somanna’s father.
“The water level had increased and because of the huge distance between the village and the island, we could not see them when we went there on Tuesday,” Hanumantha said.
On Wednesday evening, when the trio did not return home, their family members approached Tahsildar, who then informed the Deputy Commissioner J Manjunath.
Early on Thursday morning, a 22-member team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) arrived from Hyderabad to rescue the stranded them.
Yadgir Superintendent of Police Iada Martin Marbanaing, senior police officers, and the NDRF had deployed drone cameras to capture visuals of the shepherds.
“The NDRF personnel were able to identify their location after the drone cameras captured the images. The NDRF men went to the spot where the shepherds were using rafts and brought them back,” DC Manjunath said.
The Tahsildar and other revenue department officials have arranged for the stranded shepherds’ health care after they learned that the shepherds have been consuming sheep milk to survive.
The story was edited by Haripriya Suresh