Botched river rescue operation for stranded elephant leaves TV reporter dead in east India

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An operation to rescue an elephant stranded in floodwaters went awry in eastern India on September 24, resulting in the death of a journalist.

A six member rescue team with two journalists set out on a raft to get a closer look at the elephant which was stranded under a bridge over the flooded Mahanadi river.

The elephant charged at them and the raft overturned in the commotion, throwing the men to water.

Ropes were lowered from the Mundali bridge overhead to rescue the team members, and Odisha TV reporter Arindam Das was caught on camera falling down after the rope lifting him snapped. He sustained severe injuries and died en route to a hospital, it has been reported.

The disastrous effort also left another journalist critically injured and a rescue team member has gone missing.

Lalit Mohan Panda, a wildlife activist at the scene, commented: “The rescue operation was poorly planned. Many did not even know how to swim and the rescue team had no business taking journalists with them.”

A rescue official said the current priority of the rescue work was to find their missing colleague, Sitaram Murmu, then save the elephant.

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