Search and rescue operations continued for the second day on Thursday by Navy, Coast Guard and fire department to trace at least five persons who went missing after their vehicle plunged into a lake near Kochi. At least five persons, four Nepali citizens and a Malayali, are feared to have drowned after the pick up jeep carrying a total of nine persons broke through a bridge railing and fell into the lake in Aroor along the border of Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts on Wednesday.
However, four others, all migrant workers from Nepal, who were travelling in the vehicle, were rescued from the water by fishermen and have been admitted to various private hospitals at Aroor and Kochi. A Navy official said it has deployed its diving experts for search operations, but their efforts were being hampered due to “zero visibility and strong undercurrents”. The Navy team headed by Chief Petty Officer Perumal is using underwater communication and scuba diving sets to trace the missing persons, the official said.
The search operation is being coordinated by Alappuzha District Collector, Veena Madhavan. The pickup vehicle was traced and pulled out of the water late on Wednesday night, police said. Eye witnesses had said that the accident occurred as the driver lost control of the vehicle and rammed it into the Aroor bridge’s railing before crashing into the lake.