‘A miracle’: The complete story of Kupwara rescue operation
Uncle-nephew duo rescued safely after 14 hours of untiring efforts
Post by Aatif Qayoom on Sunday, November 20, 2022
Srinagar, Nov 9: Firdous Ahmad (Bablu), an 11-year-old boy and his uncle, who had stuck into a 40-foot-deep bore well at Checki-Hatmulla in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday, were safely rescued after 14 hours of nonstop rescue operations.
The minor fell into the bore well located in the backyard of his house on Friday. While rescuing his nephew, Mohammed Shafi Mir (45) also got trapped inside. Soon after the incident, teams from the local police and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) battled for more than 14 hours to pull Firdous and his uncle to safety.
Both were breathing, according to those working on the rescue operation, but neither was moving within the bore well. The boy's only indication was that he was looking for food. Apart from this, there was hardly any movement, according to a member of the rescue team.
For the bore well’s oxygen supply, a pipe was put in place. On Friday evening, the administration began excavating a 30-foot pit that would run parallel to the bore well and link the pit to it. The task of digging a tunnel was impeded by the presence of stones. The rescue effort involved the use of JCBs and excavating equipment.
Iqrar Manzoor emerged as a hero
Iqrar Manzoor, a cop on leave who put his life at risk to save the duo, says he did not think twice about helping out. "They had no option. I too have no option but to get inside the well and help them," he said.
"I don't feel like a hero. I did what had to be done at the time. I was the right person present there,” the police officer said. He said he received a call from his brother that Bablu (Firdous) and his uncle were trapped in a well and that no one was bothering to enter the well to save them.
Speaking to Rising Kashmir, Manzoor said, "I reached the spot, and within no time, Shiekh Rashid's DySP headquarters reached the spot. There was much hue and cry, and nobody was able to focus on what to do. When the DySP arrived on the scene, he took command of the rescue operation. Later, the rescue operation began.”
Manzoor was the first to go to the well and provide the trapped people with water and food. He said they both were pleading with him to save them. “After hours of rescue efforts, I was about to give up and felt at one point that they won’t be saved. However, DySP Rashid guided and encouraged me, which assisted me in carrying out the duo safely,” the young cop said.
Challenges before the rescue team
The main challenge the rescue team had was reaching the spot with machinery as the road was bottlenecked. As per the eyewitnesses, it was DySP headquarters who, without waiting for orders, removed everything coming on the road within no time, and after his strenuous efforts, the machinery was able to reach the scene.
Speaking to Rising Kashmir, Shiekh Rashid, who can be seen in videos entering the well along with DC Kupwara to rescue the boy, said that after reaching the spot where the situation was out of control, "I took the whole operation into my own hands without waiting for orders."
"I' have never witnessed such miracles in my life as there were slides from all three sides of the well; any single mistake was enough to kill both people. Everyone was calling upon us to do it as soon as possible, but handling the people was much more difficult,” he said.
Rescue operation monitoring
Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Dr Doifode Sagar Dattatray was on the spot to monitor the rescue operation. At one point, he and the DySP headquarters in Kupwara went inside the tunnel to check on the trapped people's condition.
When asked how he entered the well without fear for his life to check on the trapped people, the DC said that every person's life is valuable. The rescue operation was very tough.
"At one moment, I felt the rescuers were about to give up, so I went myself to the tunnel to guide and encourage them, and what I did at that time helped us to rescue the duo who are now stable,” the DC said, adding that the uncle of the boy was referred to Barzulla for advanced treatment.
Hundreds of people live casting the rescue operation and thousands were watching it from different parts of the valley. The people in general have hailed the efforts of all the rescuers and termed this a “miracle”.