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Mahanadi river tragedy: ODRAF jawan still untraceable, wild tusker also missing

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) jawan Sitaram Murmu who went missing in the Mahanadi river during an elephant rescue operation at Mundali barrage in Cuttack after the boat capsized on Friday has remained untraceable even after search operations for over 11 hours by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

The sub-adult tusker that remained stranded in the flooded river for nearly 20 hours has also gone missing.

The search operation for the ODRAF jawan which continued till last evening resumed on Saturday morning. The NDRF, ODRAF and Fire Services teams, however, have not been able to trace him so far.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena who informed about recovery of a decomposed body by the NDRF team near Dhabaleswar in the morning later confirmed that it didn’t belong to Murmu.

ALSO READ: Journalist drowns as elephant rescue goes wrong on Mahanadi river near Cuttack

“The body found near Dhabaleswar couldn’t be identified by the family of Murmu. He has remained untraceable so far,” said the SRC.

On the other hand, the health condition of two ODRAF personnel and OTV cameraperson Prabhat Sinha, all admitted to ICU in SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, has remained stable, informed hospital emergency officer Bhubanananda Maharana.

“Their health condition is being monitored closely. All three will be kept under observation for another 24 hours,” said a senior medical officer from the hospital.

The mortal remains of the deceased OTV journalist Arindam Das, drowned in the boat tragedy, were consigned to flames this morning at his native village Raikala in Keonjhar.

Arindam who was brought out after being carried away in the strong current of the water for kilometres was declared received dead at SCB MCH on Friday afternoon.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday sanctioned an assistance of Rs 4 lakh from the Odisha Working Journalist Welfare Fund to the family of the deceased senior reporter.

Meanwhile, forest officials are continuing their search near Jobra to trace the pachyderm last spotted near Dhabaleswar Ghat at around 2.30 am.

“It is difficult to ascertain if the elephant is dead till the carcass is recovered,” said Chandaka DFO Md Jameel.

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