Mumbai: Search-and-rescue operations were launched for a five-year-old boy who fell into a nullah at Ghatkopar on Thursday afternoon. At the time of writing, the child was yet to be traced, as rescue operations had to be suspended due to poor light.
According to fire brigade officials, Hussain Hamid Shaikh was playing near a nullah at Savitribai Phule Nagar in Ghatkopar, around noon, when he slipped and fell into the culvert. His elder brother alerted his mother, who rushed to get help.
According to Rakhi Jadhav, a corporator from the area, "Seeing her child drowning, his mother Reshma jumped in and managed to grab his hand, only to begin drowning herself. Her brother, Karim Shaikh, who spotted her, rushed to help. He began pulling her out but unfortunately, the child slipped from her grasp."
Usually, the nullah is completely filled with garbage but it had been recently cleaned by the civic body in preparation for the monsoon. Since it had rained on Thursday morning, water was flowing at a moderate speed.
The fire brigade received an alert around 12.17pm and their flood response team reached the spot around 1.23pm. A search and rescue operation was launched, with kayaks, ropes and hook anchors pressed into service.
The search operations continued till evening, but had to be called off due to poor light. Fire brigade officials have also sought help from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the Indian Navy divers.
"The civic body had undertaken the task of building a boundary wall around the nullah and it was complete just metres away from where the child slipped. While the work was going on, the locals had approached the Bombay High Court and stalled the work, claiming they could face problems during the slum rehabilitation programme," said Jadhav. The area's member of Parliament Manoj Kotak and former MLA Prakash Mehta had repeatedly highlighted the issue of the nullah and demanded its widening, since there is a waterlogging problem in the area every monsoon.