Cyclone Taukate: Man who survived tree fall in Thane was stuck inside car for 90 minutes

Thane: Dr Ritesh Gaikwad, a 39-year-old surgeon from Thane who survived a tree fall on Monday said he waited patiently for 90 minutes while he was stuck in the car, till the fire brigade officials, police and locals had rescued him successfully. Gaikwad claimed the help during the tragedy from officials and locals was effortless.

The victim, Gaikwad, is a resident of Kolshet in Thane. He is a vascular and endovascular surgeon having a clinic in Thane and a visiting faculty at different private hospitals.

Taking precautions for the cyclone on Monday, Gaikwad completed all his visits to patients till 10am. But at 4 pm he again left for Kaushalya hospital to make a decision for surgery of a patient.

"After attending the patients, I decided to move towards Horizon and Godbole hospital. I took the Hariniwas circle road and entered the Naupada police station road. I noticed a tree fall ahead, the road was turned to one way leading with slow moving traffic. I was moving at a speed of 10 to 20 kmph. I was about to reach the accident spot, when a small branch fell on the road, then again another fell ahead of my car. Even before I could react within seconds the huge tree collapsed on my car," added Gaikwad who panicked as the tree fell on the roof of the car and the car pressed him in.

"My shoulder and head were hit by the heavy fall and I was stuck. A woman police constable standing nearby came running. She first asked if anyone was in the car. I press the honk giving my presence in the car. Suddenly a few police officers from the nearby Naupada police station and the locals gathered at the spot. They advised me to keep patience and asked me to remove my head and shoulder, as I was stuck inside. They tried to move the tree but it was too huge,"added Gaikwad, stating the police then called the fire brigade and disaster management cell officials who reached in 15 to 20 mins.

Gaikwad claims the fire and disaster management cell officials started the operation to rescue me. "Even during a pandemic time the locals help in arranging power supply for cutting of the tree. It was complete teamwork. I was patiently sitting and a fire official was standing aside asking if there were any issues. They first kept stone below at the corner of the tree so that it didn't fall completely. They then kept cutting the tree. Instead of panicking, I asked them to carry out the operation slowly, as I was comfortably sitting inside. Almost after 90 minutes they rescued me safely," added Gaikwad who was overwhelmed after people started clapping after he came out safely.

Gaikwad claims in such a situation they should have used a crane to pull up the tree rather than cutting the tree for hours. "Just like during a surgery, where we ask the patient to keep patience. I too felt like a surgery carried out by the officials saved me," he added saying almost around 6 pm he was rescued and at 4:30 pm the tree had collapsed on his car.

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