Video records tragedy of family swept over waterfall

world | Jul 18, 2011 | By Martin Barillas

A family in central India was swept over a waterfall on July 17 when they were caught in a flash-flood in a river near the city of Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh.  An amateur cameraman, identified in YouTube postings as Gaurav Patidar, shot a video of the hapless family of five trying to return to the bank of the river. As onlookers gasped in horror, the group was finally swept over the Patalpani waterfall just yards away.

The video shows the family, along with other tourists visiting the river and approaches to the waterfall, as a wave of coffee-colored water surges down the river.  While several people are seen to successfully flee to the river bank, the three men and two women clung together in solidarity and tried to resist the rising current. The overwhelming water finally washed them away.  Two of the victims were reportedly rescued by a local fire brigade, while one is confirmed dead and two more are missing. The tragedy received wide coverage in India, while criticism emerged over the depiction of death.

The Indian subcontinent is currently experiencing its June-September monsoon season in which northbound winds bring torrents of rain, as well as flashfloods.  Some 200,000 people have been hit by floods in northeast India, affecting the states of Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtara and Uttar Pradesh.

Of the five people who were swept over the waterfall, Nanuram (25) of Badnawar, and Anishq (18) of Harda, were saved by people on the scene. Chandrashekhar Rathi (55) and Mudita Rathi (22) of Harda are still missing. The lifeless body of Chavi (22), daughter of Purshottam Dhoot of Aggrawal Nagar,  was retrieved.  According to local reports, local villagers had warned the tourists about the risks of straying too close to the waterfall during monsoon season.  Nanuram and Anishq were rescued three hours after the tragedy, which happened at approximately 1:45 pm local time, by local villagers.

The Patalpani waterfall is a favorite spot for picnickers and tourists.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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