After visuals of the daring rescue went viral on social media, many appreciated the Tamil Nadu forest department officials, including CM Stalin.

A rock above gushing water and rescue officials saving a mother and child using a rope
news Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 18:59

A dramatic rescue operation carried out by forest department officials and volunteers in Tamil Nadu’s Attur was widely appreciated, including by Chief Minister MK Stalin, after visuals of the incident went viral. The video shows a woman clutching her baby, balancing on a rock. Beside them, the waters of the Anaivari Muttal are raging, making it impossible for them to move. The video goes on to show Tamil Nadu forest officials climbing up the rock and rescuing the pair, even while onlookers on the other side of the falls are heard screaming and warning the men to not climb the rock as they might fall into the water. 

CM Stalin shared a video of the incident on Twitter on Tuesday. “The courageous act of those who saved the mother and daughter is commendable,” he wrote, adding that the officials will be honoured by the Tamil Nadu government. The video shows the forest officials using a rope to reach the woman. She hands over the baby to the officials, who climb up to safety. The woman is then pulled up by volunteers accompanying the forest officials. 

Even as the woman is safely rescued, the video ends with two men who volunteered to help in the rescue mission losing their balance and falling into the water. However, according to reports, both of them swam to safety and were not injured during the rescue operation. The Anaivari Muttal falls is a popular tourist destination in Salem’s Attur. It was opened to the public two months ago, when COVID-19 rules were further relaxed by the state government. Water from the falls flows through the Kallavarayan hills in Salem.

According to Salem’s District Forest Officer (DFO) K Gowtham, the waterfall is formed by rainwater from the Kallavarayan hills. If rainfall occurs in the Karumandurai region, on the other side of the Kalvarayan hill, it would be unknown to the people on this side of the hill. Heavy rains can lead to flash flood-like situations within half an hour, the DFO said, but the water levels were higher than previous times on Monday, he added. 

 According to the DFO, the forest officials were trained to carry out such rescue missions. Apart from the mother and daughter, the officials had also rescued a few other tourists trapped on the other side of the water. As there was no path, the only way to carry out the operation was to use a rope and climb up the rocks to safety. 

Following the rescue operations, Salem district authorities evacuated tourists and ordered the closure of the Anaivari Muttal falls, the Vallakumparai temple and one more tourism spot in Yercaud.

CM Stalin, in his congratulatory tweet, also said that “humanity shines on the shores of those who dare to save the lives of others,” and that the public must remain vigilant during such calamities. 

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