The boat in which five members of the Mathrubhumi news channel were travelling capsized on Monday in Mundar. While three members were rescued, one body was recovered and the search for the fifth person is still on.
KK Saji, who worked as a freelancer for Mathrubhumi, was found dead. Three other media persons, Thiruvalla Bureau camera person Abhilash S Nair, Kottayam reporter KB Sreedharan, and KP Abhilash, who was rowing the boat, have been rescued.
Their driver Bipin Babu, who has worked with Mathrubumi for three years, is still missing and Navy personnel from Kochi are still looking for him.
According to Mathrubhumi, the crew had gone to cover relief camps in Mundar. The crew had travelled in two small boats, which had motor engines. The reporting team had reached Mundar to cover the relief camps in Parayil Colony.
Mundar, which falls under the Kallara panchayat in Kottayam, is the worst hit by the rains. The team was on their way back in a boat when it capsized in the deep end of the Kariyar river. They were able to hold on to the boat for some time, but before the rescue team could come, Bipin and Shaji were swept away by strong currents. The other three managed to climb on to the boat and were rescued by the Navy, fire and rescue personnel and a scuba team.
Mathrubhumi has released photographs, in which it appears that the crew had not worn any life jackets.
The three people, who were rescued, were rushed to HGM Hospital, Muttuchira. Reports say their condition is now stable.
Mathrubhumi remembers Saji as a reporter who tried to bring stories from all quarters of the state. His body has been sent to Kottayam Medical College for a post-mortem examination.
Mundar is completely cut off from the mainland and people have to travel by boats for hours to access the mainland. During the floods, most of the agricultural areas had been submerged.
Kerala is limping back to normalcy after heavy rains lashed the state. It is reported that over 1.18 lakh people have sought refuge in 606 relief camps across the state. Alappuzha and Kottayam were the worst-affected and over 80,000 people have been affected in these two districts alone.