Unsafe Diving watch the Link ----Foot stuck in four-inch pipe for two days, hope of dam diver’s survival fades

Foot stuck in four-inch pipe for two days, hope of dam diver’s survival fades
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

A diver from the Calcutta team crawls out of a pipe after a futile rescue bid. Picture by Mita Ray
Purulia, Dec. 15: All attempts to extricate the right foot of diver Mukesh K**ar, stuck in a pipe inside a pitch dark and submerged chamber of a Purulia power project’s reservoir since Sunday afternoon, remained unsuccessful till late Tuesday night.

It is feared that the 35-year-old father of two may not have survived the ordeal.

His intake of oxygen, being piped from the surface, dropped this morning, said officials involved in the rescue operations for over 48 hours.

“Until we get hold of the body, officially all that we can say is that efforts are on to get Mukesh out,” said Surojit Dutta, project manager of the hydel power plant nestled in the Ayodhya hills, about 380km from Calcutta.

Divers from a firm in Barrackpore, on the fringes of Calcutta, who specialise in underwater rescue went down last night. “The suction at the mouth of the drainage pipe where his foot is stuck is too great,” said Ashis Dutta, one of the four from the city.

Two divers went down in vain this morning.

In the afternoon, they tied Mukesh with ropes to pull him up from the surface, but it led to fears that his foot might get severed.

“His mask had come off and the body had become stiff because of the cold water and the enormous pressure at such depth,” Ashis said.

Mukesh has been under 120ft of water for over 48 hours and his diving suit is apparently not equipped to maintain pressure beyond 38 hours. Even when he was breathing normally last night, the authorities were concerned about the lack of nutrition and drinking water.


In Jhajjar, Haryana, where his wife Pinki lives with their children, the family has been informed about the developments. Other members of the team of seven with which Mukesh came to Purulia to repair an underwater leak called her.

The Mumbai-based Grafftech Marine and Engineering Company had assigned the job to the team from Visakhapatnam after officials of the Purulia Pumped Storage Project contracted it to locate and repair the leak in a reservoir chamber, first noticed in March.

Asked how the accident happened, Grafftech project manager C.K. Baruah said the foot must have been pulled in by the suction of the drainage pipe when he stepped on it. His teammates could not pull him out on Sunday afternoon because, the official said, a nervous Mukesh held on to them every time they came near him.

As a result of the leak in the pipe, the water level in the reservoir had been going down and hurting power generation.

Baruah said the job was to locate the leak in the inundated reservoir chamber, find out what had caused it and carry out repairs.

The repair work was to have been recorded on camera but there is no footage of Mukesh’s dive.

Baruah admitted that such assignments were risky. “That is why divers with experience and capable of taking care of themselves are given such tasks. Mukesh had 10 years’ experience behind him. He was associated with us for five years and was a senior member of the team. But accidents happen. His foot got pulled into the pipe by its powerful suction,” he added.

The divers from Barrackpore, who were summoned on Sunday itself, took almost a day to arrive, allegedly because of a roadblock on Durgapur Expressway.

“We were held up by an agitation on the highway and then we had to find our way to the project site from Purulia town,” said Ashis.

“Maybe the diver could have been saved had they reached by noon yesterday,” an employee of the power plant said.

Another set of divers has started for Purulia from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. Their job will possibly be reduced to extricating the body.

Baruah promised a Rs 5- lakh compensation for Mukesh’s wife in case he was found dead.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091216/jsp/bengal/story_11871258.jsp

UPDATED NEWS

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091217/jsp/bengal/story_11876539.jsp

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Hi,I too have watched him die closely and would like to give some comment.

1-The diver was using Tullu(Simply air supplied with pipe).No helmet DCI etc or any back up.

2-None of the staff had carried out any risk a****sment which is a must for dam or any diving.I am sure that they even dont know what the risk a****sment is.

3-There was no communication available with diver as he was simply using demand supply and no helmet.

4-The so called rescue divers were unqualified least paid divers with only tullu diving experience.When they went at the site they were asking each other to go and rescue.

5-He survived for more than a day and I am sure that a rescue team should not take more that this time even to come from UK.As a matter of fact there was no preplanned rescue plan.

6-Every one including Barua or the head of the hydro power plant are busy saving their ass and so very gently blaming something or someone else other than them.

7-The diver was being paid more or less 20USD as day rate.

8-The power plant earns more than 50 million INR daily while it hesitates to pay a meager amount for emergency and back up during accidents like this.

9- The biggest and most sad thing about India is we conduct 99 out of 100 dives without any helmet and only with scuba sets-Sometimes upto 120ft.

10-There is no dedicated diving division on board any of these dams and the dam guys or officials treat with divers like dogs and slaves.

God bless indian divers working onshore.

Santosh-919831777740
They wont learn anything from this except maybe "Dont be a diver because it will get you killed" the level of operation is like he said "they treat divers like dogs and slaves" with that kind of operation and mind set why should they be in a hurry to change. Third world countries that tends to be the norm and they get away with it. So when you see standards being compromised and skipped over STAND UP AND SAY STOP THE F-----JOB LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY" or be prepared to see your pals die right in front of you.
Just think about the pain,agony and utter helplessness he had suffered.No one even went closer to him.The power plant is earning millions while they did not even bothered to bring back up by helicopter.
God bless India and indian divers.
I have been fighting for this since long.Lost many jobs ,Been kicked out of many companies.But I always believe that life is more important than money.At least if i am alive then can survive by some means.They sell power generated by hedel power plants at a rate 10 times more than USA or Europe while they pay 100 times less than what a diver gets in these countries.

aquanaut078@yahoo.in
Thank you buddy
Wish You All a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Why wouldn't they just cut a h*** in the pipe a bit farther down allowing water to get through via a different opening? Wouldn't that of relieved the pressure on his foot??
For this to do a diving plan and risk a****sment is required.The company which was working there hires incompetent top side staff and supvs.There was no plan for any emergency.
No mention of any lock out tag out proceedures. In US you learn that before you ever get wet. God rest his soul.

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