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Michaung Mayhem: Five killed in separate incidents

According to the weather office and weather bloggers, Chennai witnessed the heaviest rainfall after the 2015 flood during the northeast monsoon.

Michaung Mayhem: Five killed in separate incidents

Representative image

CHENNAI: The cyclone Michaung on Monday mauled a good whole portion of north Tamil Nadu comprising Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, and Chengalpattu and brought the capital Chennai to a standstill, throwing normal life out of gear. At least five persons died in various rain-related accidents ranging from electrocution, tree fall, compound wall collapse and roads caving in. Workers were trapped in a construction site while cars parked near Pallikaranai marshland were washed away by the floods that reminded the Chennaiites of the 2015 flash floods. Chennai airport was closed on Monday, while several trains were cancelled by Southern Railway.

According to the weather office and weather bloggers, Chennai witnessed the heaviest rainfall after the 2015 flood during the northeast monsoon. The capital city recorded 35 cm of rainfall within 24 hours due to cyclone Michaung. Tiruvallur received heavy downpours at the time of going to press, and rivers in the district are now in spate.

At least two persons were feared trapped inside a 40-foot trench, one of whom is suspected to be inside a container (a makeshift office) placed inside the trench an under-construction site on Five Furlong Road, Velachery on Monday morning.

One of the persons trapped is a site engineer while the other man is a worker at the CNG gas station near the trench.

The land around the trench caved in, bringing down a bus shelter and a portion of the floor of a CNG fuel outlet adjoining the trench.

Chennai city traffic police personnel on cyclone rescue duty nearby were the first responders and they managed to save three persons standing in the bus shelter and falling into the pit.

"We used ropes to pull out those who were crying for help and managed to rescue three of them," a senior police officer said.

However, police soon learnt that some staff at the under-construction site had reported to work and were inside the container office.

Personnel from the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) units reached the scene to chalk out rescue strategy as the land around the trench caved in and the incessant rains led to the pit being filled with water. "The rescue operations were hindered badly because of the continuous rains," an official said. The trapped persons were identified as Naresh (20) and Jayaseelan (25), an engineer.

NDRF deployed deep divers to get into the trench and open the door of the container office, but their efforts did not yield the expected response. As of Monday evening, they were yet to be rescued. Police sources said the rescue personnel are considering using a crane with a giant magnet to lift the container off the trench. As news of the men trapped spread, families of the trapped persons reached the scene and a pall of gloom descended on the scene.

Jayaseelan got married less than a year ago. His wife Manjula is pregnant and was inconsolable holding a photograph of her husband.

Naresh worked in the gas station and he fell on the container when the floor of the gas station caved in, eyewitnesses said. In another incident. two construction workers died after a compound wall collapsed on them in OMR late Sunday.

The deceased are Zaheer (20) and Abrose (30), both from Jaharkhandn who were working as construction workers in Chennai. Recently, the workers were involved in renovating a house on Kana thur Gandhi Road in OMR. They used to stay in a hut which was on the construction site. On Sunday night, the construction workers were sleeping inside the hut. At midnight, while it was raining heavily, the wall which was under construction collapsed and fell on the hut.

Police said in the impact, Zaheer, Abrose and Mohamed Thabik suffered severe injuries and oth er workers rushed them to a private hospital in the locality. However, Zaheer and Abrose were declared brought dead. Mohammed Thabik was admitted to the ICU. The Kanathur police have regis tered a case and further inquiry is on.

Srikkanth, Swedha Radhakrishnan and Sam Augustine
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