Sonam Dangi, 35, who was rescued from a swollen river in Madhya Pradesh where she spent nearly 12-hours braving strong water currents, says she kept clinging on to some iron rods of an under-construction bridge through her ordeal as the thought of her eight-year-old son kept her hope alive.
Dangi was travelling with her brother on a motorcycle to her parents’ house in Padaria in Vidisha district to celebrate Raksha Bandhan on Thursday, when they got swept away in the swollen Betwa river around 6 pm while they were crossing the Barrighat bridge, some 40-kms from the district headquarters, officials said.
”I was crossing the Barrighat bridge at around 6 pm on Raksha Bandhan with my brother Kallu Dangi when our motorcycle slipped and I fell into the river,” Sonam Dangi told PTI.
She said that after seeing her falling into the river, her brother also jumped, but failed to rescue her due to strong water current.
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Sonam said that after being swept away for around five kilometres from the spot, she got stuck in some iron rods of an under-construction bridge at village Ganj.
”I clung on to the iron rods put up for an under-construction bridge, but started losing my strength through the night. It kept raining heavily coupled with lightning and thunder. But I kept remembering the face of my eight-year-old son. I gave courage to myself that I have to live for my child,” she said.
Dangi said that she saw a ray of hope at around 5 am when the rescuers came in a boat to save her.
”But the boat of rescuers overturned while taking me to safety and I again swept away and got stuck in a tree log at Rajkheda, some five kilometres from the under-construction bridge. But now I was wearing a life jacket,” she said.
The woman said she was finally rescued there. ”The villagers and rescuers took me to safety with the help of a tube and then I tied ‘rakhi’ to my brother at that place,” she said.
The woman said that the rescuers later took her to a hospital, where she underwent a medical check-up and was treated for hypothermia before she reached home in Padaria. On Friday, additional chief secretary (ACS) home Dr Rajesh Rajora had said that while Dangi’s brother was immediately rescued, she was found stuck in an under-construction pillar of a bridge and a rescue team was deployed to save her, but couldn’t due to strong currents.
The team of five divers finally reached the woman in their fifth attempt around 5 am and gave her a life-jacket and pulled her in the boat, he said.
As the boat started moving towards the bank, it overturned due to strong currents. While the divers somehow swam to safety, the woman was again swept away, Rajora said.
However, Dangi found a large log to hold on to and stayed afloat about 16 km away from the original spot, he said.
The authorities had also alerted villages downstream, and people in Rajkheda village spotted her and rescued her to safety with the help of a tube, the ACS said.