Ellammal (55), wife of Muniappan of Sedukarai in Gudiyattam, had, along with her family, been rearing pigs in a makeshift hut on a sand bank in the middle of the Kaoundanya river. The river bed was encroached upon heavily as flows are usually rare.
A mud road with street lamps cuts across the river bed and this, in place of the congested bridge nearby, is used by locals to reach the other side. Following water being released from the Mordana dam, Muniappan and his family moved to safety but they were unsure of the whereabouts of Ellammal who had been separated from them. Though she was later found on the sand bank and the revenue officials tried to coax her to relocate to the shore, she refused even after her animals had been saved. Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram was also apprised of this situation and as the river was in spate, the Fire and Rescue Services were informed, who tried their best to reach her but were unable to navigate the swirling waters on Friday evening.
However, as the woman was within hailing distance from the shore, locals kept communicating with her throughout the night. A 20-member NDRF team which had been sent for, arrived on Saturday morning and with the help of a rubber dinghy were able to row over to the sand bank and rescue the trapped Ellammal.
Once she was brought ashore, she was immediately rushed to the Gudiyattam government hospital to check for dehydration. Similarly, 70 families of Nadupet in the same town, though surrounded by the Koundaya river water, refused officials’ pleas to be rescued as they were upset over their demand for a bridge across the same river not being acceded to by officials.