Cuttack: Television journalist Arindam Das died after an ODRAF boat engaged in the rescue operation of the stranded tusker capsized in the Mahanadi near Mundali barrage on Friday.
Five ODRAF personnel and two journalists of a local news channel, Arindam and Pravat Sinha, were on the powerboat when it overturned in the river due to strong water currents. It was deployed to help the jumbo move from the point where it was stuck.
Rescued in a critical state, the journalists and three ODRAF personnel were shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital here. “Arindam was received dead. We tried to revive him for over an hour,” SCB superintendent Bhubananda Moharana told the media.
Arindam was the chief reporter of OTV.
“Pravat is critical and in the ICU of the medicine department. Condition of one of the ODRAF personnel is critical,” he added.
It may be mentioned here that a stranded tusker was inching towards the shore by Friday afternoon nearly 7 hours after being swept away in Mahanadi when it turned back into the waters due to a crowd on the bridge.
A 10-member expert team along with DFO, Chandaka Wildlife, Mohd Jamil, had also reached Mundali for ‘Operation Gaja’ to rescue the sub-adultcaught in the currents of the swollen river this morning.
According to sources, the tusker was swept away by heavy currents while crossing the Mahanadi near Mundali. It was part of a herd of 17 elephants, which was on its way to Chandaka from Nuasasan in Athagarh block. The tusker was caught in the swirling water and was unable to move due to the strong current in the river.
Two elephants were reportedly swept away towards Naraj while trying to save the stranded tusker.
Other members of the herd swum through to Chandaka forests, the sources added.
Watch the video of boat capsize here: