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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The firefighters of Chandbali fire department in Bhadrak rescued a youth from the crocodile-infested Baitarani river near Aranya Niwas in Chandbali on Saturday night.

The unidentified youth, who is suspected to be mentally unstable, reportedly jumped into the Baitarani river near Aranya Niwas in the town and was stuck on a bamboo pole in the middle of the river.

The fire department officials were pressed into action following which a four-member firefighting team rescued him from the raging river before the crocodiles could spot and attack him. Sources said, the youth did not cooperate, so rescuing him was a challenge for the firefighters.

Speaking to reporters, an eyewitness Rabindra Sahu, said, “I saw the youth while jumping into the river near Aranya Niwas. After swimming for around 300 metres, he got hold of a bamboo pole put in the river to tie fishing boats.”

Dhirendra Behera, a firefighter told OTV, “When we reached the spot, he was already on the bamboo pole, playing in the water by putting his life in danger. He looked mentally challenged. We took a local fisherman’s boat and rescued him.”

“His life was in danger. Had we not reached on time, he would either have been swept away or have become the food of the crocodiles,” Behera said.

As per the official data released in November 2021, a total of 26 people have lost their lives in the human-crocodile interaction over the past 12 years in Kendrapara alone (the neighbouring district of Bhadrak).

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