Khammam: A Disaster Response Force (DRF) personnel drowned and another went missing in the flooded Palair rivulet at Suddepalli under Nelakondapalli mandal on Thursday when they entered the swift waters to rescue a fisherman who was suspected to have drowned.
The victim was identified as Venkatesh of the DRF of the Khammam Municipal Corporation (KMC). His colleague Pradeep is missing, as is Pagadala Ranjit, the man they set out to rescue, police said.
The series of events started when fishermen Pagadala Ranjit, Afzal and Arjun of Chennaram village went to the Palair river for fishing early on Tuesday morning. Police said Afzal lost his footing and was rescued by the other two.
In the effort, however, Ranjit slipped into the water and was washed away. They informed the locals who called the local police. Nelakondapalli sub-inspector Sravanthi called the DRF team of KMC.
The DRF team comprising four members — Venkatesh, Praveen, Siva and Vijay — entered the waters to search for Ranjit. The water of the flooded rivulet carried away Venkatesh and Pradeep.
The police, who took the help of locals, retrieved the body of Venkatesh. DRF personnel Pradeep and fisherman Ranjit were missing. The search operation was hindered by the water flowing at high speed.
Sources said the KMC DRF team was very poorly equipped. Venkatesh only wore a life jacket and it was not fixed properly. The jacket washed away in the water. The other three members did not have a life jacket.
All DRF vehicles are supposed to have safety jackets and helmets, cutters, pumpset, demolition hammer, slab cutter, fire balls, fire suit, ropes and ladder and electric cutters among others.
Sub-inspector Sravanthi said, “The DRF team did not bring any equipment. We are trying to trace the two missing persons, fisherman Ranjit and DRF member Praveen.”