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Jharkhand ropeway accident: Man falls to death during rescue operation even as armed forces continue efforts to save lives

Trikut Ropeway is the highest vertical ropeway in India, with a maximum lens angle of 44 degrees. Located around 20 KM away from Baba Baidyanath Temple, Deoghar, its length is 766 meters. A total of 25 cabins are available with the capacity of four passengers per cabin.

The rescue operation after the Tirkut Ropeway accident in the Deoghar district of Jharkhand is underway, and so far, over 40 people have been rescued by the agencies. Indian Air Force (IAF) is leading the rescue operation with support from Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Garuda commandoes and district administration. Two people, including a woman, have lost their lives.

The accident took place at the tourist location 20 KM from Deoghar. In an early-morning Twitter post, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Manjunath Bhajantri said that a total of ten out of 15 people had been rescued since morning. These 15 people could not be rescued on Monday due to extreme weather conditions and low visibility.

A woman who was among the rescued people was shifted to hospital on Sunday, where she succumbed to injuries that were sustained at the time of the accident. A man fell to death on Monday evening during the rescue operation.

Speaking to OpIndia, RK Mallick, Additional Director General of Jharkhand Police, said, “Proper inquiry has to be done by the agency that was carrying out the operation. They will be able to find out the reason for what happened. Only they can throw any light on that. It will not be proper for me to say anything. We have to wait for the assessment of the Air Force that was conducting the rescue operation.” ADG Mallick, who rushed from Ranchi to Deoghar after the ropeway accident, is overseeing the rescue operation.

There are a lot of speculations floating in the media about the reason behind the tragic accident during the rescue operation, but the clear reason can only be revealed by the Indian Air Force. OpIndia tried to reach out to the PRO of IAF but could not connect.

Hindustan Times quoted a rescued person saying that the accident took place at around 3:00 – 3:30 PM on Sunday. A total of 48 people were stranded in 12 of the 25 ropeway cars when the system halted following the rope down the line dislocated from the pulley. The rescue operation could be launched on Sunday evening but could not continue for long due to topography. The person said, “We had lost hope when we saw helicopters returning after doing two sorties. We could not sleep at night. We were provided food and water in the morning. I thank the rescue team for saving us.”

ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey said the rescue operation was difficult due to altitude and ropes. He said, “The first to be rescued were in the cabins that were only around 60 feet high from the ground. But risk increased as the height of the cabins progressively increased to over 500 feet, thus increasing the risk factor. The ITBP has previously conducted a similar rescue at a ropeway in Mussourie. We could not have risked trying to run the ropeway again as it is risk-prone to restart the system without a complete mechanical checking. So ultimately, the only option was to either provide anchors to the stranded and take them down or else airlift and land them at a safe place.”

BJP accused the Jharkhand govt of mismanagement

Jharkhand BJP president Deepak Prakash said in a statement that the tourism department failed to do routine maintenance for the past two years. He added that Hafizul Ansari, tourism minister of Jharkhand, failed to reach the accident site on Sunday though he was in Deoghar.

Speaking to OpIndia, Prakash said, “It was a complete failure of the state government. Thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, who took cognizance of the matter and sent IAF, NDRF and Army for the rescue operation.”

Trikut Ropeway

As per the Jharkhand Tourism department, Trikut Ropeway is the highest vertical ropeway in India, with a maximum lens angle of 44 degrees. Located around 20 KM away from Baba Baidyanath Temple, Deoghar, its length is 766 meters. A total of 25 cabins are available with the capacity of four passengers per cabin.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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